In 2024 here, I think that many people have become used to being a touch skeptical of widely shared images on social media, lest they be AI rather than artwork, or some revealing photo of a celebrity that’s falsified rather than legitimate. It’s an unfortunate side effect of AI without even needing to use it, that even real photos or pieces of art become scrutinized.
But even as critics decry AI fakes as obvious or bad, they are…becoming less obvious and bad. No, not in the “actually AI prompting is art!!!” sense, but in the “my brain is genuinely confused by this” sense instead. And I’m not sure I’ve seen a better recent example than what happened with the above photo (“photo”) of Wolverine’s cowl, purportedly from Deadpool 3.
This image was widely shared on social media over the last couple days, and at first, not really scrutinized at all. The idea was that Marvel had decided to show off the classic comic cowl at an expo, and it was the first look at Hugh Jackman’s pending mask as he dons the gold version of the costume for the first time. It looks pretty good, I thought, before making my way into the replies.
As it turns out, yes, this is AI. But even in an age where this kind of thing happens a lot, this one felt especially shocking. We are getting to the point where you genuinely have to examine things under a microscope to try and find clues, and even knowing you need to do that, I still couldn’t see the telltale signs of AI until an army of people banded together to hunt them down.
Things like the pointy nose shadow not matching the actual nose:
The off-center pattern on the forehead:
Some of the signs appearing to be nonsense in the background:
But even still, this is…something else. And we are moving into “you can’t believing your lying eyes” territory with some of these. While there are still plenty of garbage, easily spot-able AI creations out there, it is evolving so quickly that it’s becoming worrisome about what’s going to be able to be forged. Sure, this is just a comic book helmet, but given that an image generator like Midjourney v1 was released in February 2022, and by February 2024, this is what we’re looking at now, this is a problem. Or I guess “super cool” if you’re in Silicon Valley, but you can see how this is evolving way too quickly for its own good.
Again, everyone is dealing with a lot of AI in various forms, text, music, video, images, etc. But something about this one specifically really stood out to me and made me stop in my tracks when I realized it was a fake. I can think I’m clever and educated about AI discernment, but I have to admit the tech is expanding faster than my brain can keep up with at this point.
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