The creator of the viral image of Pope Francis in a Balenciaga coat—generated with Midjourney’s artificial intelligence—claims that his name accompany the posts.
You surely remember that a few weeks ago an image generated by artificial intelligence of Pope Francis in a Balenciaga puffer jacket went viral online, fooling many Internet users and especially Twitter users.
Although AI-generated images have gone viral before, none have fooled as many people as quickly as the image of the Pope. Much of its virality was due to some users even knowingly sharing it just for laughs. But history can consider ‘Papa Balenciaga’ as the first episode of truly viral AI misinformation.
After this commotion, its creator with a pseudonym Pablo Xavier has resorted to the media to express their disagreement with all those people who are making use of this image created by him to appear in newspapers, magazines and even on television.
“I didn’t even know until someone told me,” Pablo says. “I thought, ‘What the hell?’ He pretty much used it to jumpstart his company, which is fine. But I just wish they would have asked him, ‘Hey, show us your generations, show us how you got it,'” he adds.
Back to the big problem of attribution in AI-generated images
The big problem and discussion comes after Pablo complained on his Instagram account. Some users commented that he is magnifying the problem, since he did not generate the photos himself, but simply wrote a sentence in Midjourney to generate an image for him. “You’re right, but I also spent many hours trying to get just the right variation on this.”
Our protagonist and in a nutshell highlights the need for regulation around generative AI and, in the case of Midjourney, the need for default watermarks indicating the creator.
“Some people in Midjourney are talking about watermarks that will be automatically generated with these images,” says Pablo. “Please implement it so we can put our names on it.”
The truth is that despite being an image that has logically been created in a simpler way than by creating it manually, the ability that it has had to penetrate the population —despite its errors— has been thanks to the creator and his indications in Midjourney.
A watermark indicating the creator would not only give these people the opportunity to be noticed in society, but also it would help the rest to identify these images as false.