Take the “Pope in a Coat” (please!). Via Ryan Broderick’s Garbage Day:
Over the weekend, a user on Reddit’s r/midjourney subreddit posted an AI-generated image of Pope Francis wearing a big parka (and looking sick). And it’s not an accident that it was an image of the pope wearing what looks like Balenciaga. Generative-AI art communities share different meta strategies for good prompts and aesthetics that these tools can work within and more than few users have recently figured out that Midjourney is actually really good at rendering stuff that looks like high fashion photography. For instance, last week, there was an AI video of Balenciaga Harry Potter that went viral, though I’m guessing the prompts for that were more “80s dark fantasy”.
Either way, the image above was then shared on Twitter by a user named @skyferrori who captioned it, “OKAAYYY”. And it went super viral. It was retweeted over 18,000 times. And a lot of those people thought it was real (myself included). The tell that it’s fake is that he’s carrying what looks like a Starbucks cup in his right hand.
And it seems like the believability of this image was a real wakeup call for a lot of folks. As writer Joel Golby succinctly put it in The Guardian this morning, “I thought I was immune to being fooled online. Then I saw the pope in a coat.”
There’s no reason to worry, certainly not as 01 April approaches.
Let’s imagine a world where the energy issues with blockchain (and I’ll refer to all digital ledgers that operate basically the same in that umbrella term) are resolved. Let’s say blockchain becomes divorced in peoples’ mind from NFTs and associated grifts. And let’s say blockchain becomes both ubiquitous and open like the World Wide Web.
Could blockchain solve the deepfake problem? It would not be fast — legitimate sources would need to register (?) on the blockchain and prove their identity through something … ugh, I hate myself for even typing this … non-fungible … gah, I was right – I hate myself for using that word … in the physical world. Governments and NGOs would be able to set themselves up, central banks could set up regular banks who would set up their clients, and so on.
I see legion problems with this approach. I’m tired and need to go to bed. But an imperfect system backed with some validation beyond buying a blue checkmark from a space Karen is better than a Wild West, which is what we may have now.