You can joke about fingers all you want, but the reason AI-generated imagery is perceived as a threat and not just an idle curiosity is its ability to pass for actual, human-created artwork. On the extreme end of the scale that’s a threat to accurate news reporting, and on the more harmless end it’s making life difficult for the community managers of popular video games.
Like Destiny, a game that, thanks to its huge and devoted playerbase, regularly shouts out the creators among that crowd by highlighting their movies and artwork. Sadly last week one of those artworks turned out to be an AI-generated image:
Upon being showcased and instantly called out as an AI-generated image by fans, the person uploading it (“hebb”) is quoted as saying “Woah, I just thought the picture was really neat so I posted on the creations page. I’ll take the post down”. At time of posting the image has not been taken down, and can still be viewed here.
It’s not the most alarming example of this, I know, but Bungie’s response is interesting because it highlights the struggles that people involved in curating and using artwork are currently facing the world over, whether they work for a video games studio or in an international newsroom. In a blog post called “There’s Nothing Artificial About This Week’s Picks”, Bungie say:
Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) Art
Last week, an A.I. art submission was mistakenly featured in our blog. The process of choosing these involves a team effort and with this technology being so new, we don’t have a foolproof way of knowing what submissions are A.I. art.
We want to keep this celebration of our community for those that work hard to bring their creative selves to the forefront when creating works that the Traveler would find joy in. Because of this, we will not knowingly ever feature A.I. art submissions as a potential #Destiny2AOTW or #Destiny2MOTW winner. That being said, this is still new. We ask for grace if we mistakenly feature a submission generated by A.I., and a respectful heads up should it ever happen again in the future. Appreciate the assist!
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While there’s no definitive guide—especially in cases where the vast majority of a piece is conjured by AI then touched by in PhotoShop—there are already plenty of tips out there for spotting AI-generated imagery that go beyond the obvious, like (as in this image’s case) “counting fingers”. As this Wired guide points out, some other key tells—for now, at least!—are dead, lifeless eyes, misshaped ears, a lack of composition and general acts of weirdness, like someone’s hair extending out of their collarbone, or jewellery/accessories that smoosh into each other.