Terrifying warning as photo of Pope wearing white puffer jacket fools the internet
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For the briefest of moments in the lifespan of the internet, the Pope had what the kids these days might call a 'drip', as a picture emerged of his holiness Pope Francis wearing a white puffer jacket.
The photo spread across the internet like wildfire as people delighted in the idea that the Pope would be wearing something you'd expect to see draped around the shoulders of a rapper.
Of course, it wasn't long until the truth was revealed - that the photo of the Pope wearing a white puffer jacket was a complete fake, an invention of an AI program called Midjourney, and the internet collectively realised that actually wearing a coat like that was something the Pope would definitely not do.
While it's hard to fully buy that he wouldn't do something like this when the Popemobile exists, the photo was indeed a fake.
The internet may have had a good giggle over this but experts are warning people that more and more things like this could happen thanks to AI and next time, it might not be a largely harmless joke.
Speaking to CNN, tech expert Sinead Bovell explained exactly why something like a picture of the Pope in a big puffer jacket posed such a threat.
She said: "I think it went so viral not just because it was funny to some people but because most people couldn't tell that it was fake.
"We've known for years that AI generated imagery presents a looming threat on democracy and societies in a world were we can't distinguish between what's real and what's fake.
"That world is here, that world in which images and video may no longer by synonymous with the truth."
"There's many social implications for this, but mostly how accessible this technology has become to anybody with a smartphone. We're moments away from swimming in a sea of information that we can't really distinguish what's real and what's not."
She said there wasn't one solution to figuring out what was created by AI and what was actually real, explaining that it would be a 'cat and mouse game' in the attempt to keep flagging up fake content.
Journalist Ryan Broderick called it the 'first real mass-level AI misinformation case' and admitted he had initially been fooled by the AI generated image.
When you can't trust the evidence of your own eyes and ears thanks to AI it can be difficult to know whether what you're looking at is even real or not.
While the chatbots an increasing number of people are starting to interact with are behaving strangely it's somewhat noticeable, but when it comes to pictures and video of real people which look pretty much indistinguishable from the real thing it can be much harder to tell fact from fiction.
Then there's the concern over deepfakes, because if AI is good enough to become indistinguishable from the real thing then people can use your likeness and voice to make it appear as though you've done pretty much anything.
Featured Image Credit: Twitter
Topics: Technology, Viral