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AI Images of the Pope Rocking Trendy Fashion Goes Viral — You Can't Help Loving the Drip

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By Christian Webster - - 5 Mins Read

On 24th of March 2023, An image of Pope Francis rocking a gigantic white puffer coat surfaced online and went viral on all social media platforms for a while now, but it was a shock to know that the picture was a fake one.

Artificial Intelligence is slowly affecting our world, and people are in awe of how drastic it is becoming. The world of AI images is proportionally new and different companies launching new tools for a couple of months. Although fake images have been in existence since the innovation of photography, we can only wait to see how the new AI unfolds and create more fake stunning pictures.

The fake image was generated using Mid Journey. This Artificial intelligence-based technology creates stunning fake images from simple text orders, using people's faces and total body structures to make it look real. 

The fake image of the pope drip was first posted on Reddit on the 24th of March 2023 before being circulated on Twitter on the 25th of March and on all social media platforms over the weekend, and everyone thought it was real. Twitter later spread posts of the photo around, which generated thousands of likes and other reactions

The fake image had tricked a lot of people, including Miles Cheong, a popular fashion influencer who had tweeted about the picture and said, "the pope is a fashion icon, respect the drip"

Recently, the Midjourney app was used to make photo-realistic images of former president Donald Trump getting arrested. And even Donald also shared a fake AI-generated image of himself kneeling to pray. A first look at all the images looks like they could be real photos. But they were all computer-created from fake reality.

“I thought the pope’s puffer jacket was real, I was duped 

Chrissy Teigen , a model and TV personality, said 'I thought the pope's puffer jacket was real didn't give it a second thought. no way am I surviving the future of technology. She told her 12.9 million Twitter followers.

The boys in Brooklyn could only hope for this level of drip pic.twitter.com/MiqkcLQ8Bd
— Nikita S (@singareddynm) March 25, 2023

AI Can't Be Perfect 

Not long after the picture was shared; Twitter attached a reader context Mr. Ajder to the tweet that reads, "This is an AI-generated image of Pope Francis. It is not a genuine photo.”

The picture was detected to be forged when the user had carefully zoomed in and inspected the picture critically. He revealed the evidence well by analyzing the false image. 

According to him, "if you zoom in on details, you'll see signs of image synthesis in warped details like the pope's crucifix necklace, the crooked shadow of his glasses, and whatever he is carrying in his hand (a cup?)."

Artificial Intelligence could not forge the pope's hands as it was obvious that the hand in the picture was not that of the pope. Also, Pope Francis is known for his humble outfits. However, Mr. Ajder added that these shortcomings could be ironed out within a space of months or years. 

"It is possible that in one or two years, people will not be able to tell a real image from a fake one – even when scrutinizing it closely," he said.

The ethics fellow at the Alan Turing Institute, D r. Mhairi Aitken said that the images could even become riskier if used every day on people who do not have the resources to stop their spread. She said, "They could be used to create fake, incriminating images to show people somewhere they shouldn’t be, or used as forms of bribery or humiliation – or on a larger scale to distort political processes." She said: “It could be images of the war in Ukraine, and if it was potentially fake, it significantly changes the narrative. That significantly changes what people believe to be true and has implications for political positions and democratic processes.”

Clever AI Can trick even Misinformation Experts

Dr. Daniel Jolley, an assistant professor at the University of Nottingham who specializes in misinformation, admitted he did not realize the Pope photo was fake when scrolling through Twitter. 

He said, “I genuinely laughed and thought it's a weird thing for the Pope to wear, I didn’t even realize it was fake. The photo is of very good quality – and that is the danger of this type of misinformation, in that it looks so good.” 

He also added, "if images meet people’s prior beliefs, they are less likely to question them, because it “feels real” to them, while being repeatedly exposed to fake images and narratives can also convince people of ideas that are not true."