Artificial Intelligence Concerns As Fake Images Spread Of Trump, Putin Detentions

Thursday, March 23, 2023 | Tag Cloud Tags: , ,

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

NEW YORK/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Leading experts have raised the alarm about the growing influence of artificial intelligence (AI) after fake images of the ‘arrest’ of former U.S. President Donald J. Trump and the ‘jailing’ of Russian leader Vladimir Putin spread around the world.

Trump was seen getting gang-tackled by riot-gear-clad New York City police officers this week while Russian President Vladimir Putin was featured in prison behind the bars of a dimly lit concrete cell.

The highly detailed, sensational images inundated social media platforms such as Twitter and others news that he faces possible criminal charges while the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin.

The images underscored concerns about social media that skeptics say are often used by governments, non-journalists, and activists to spread wild claims without fact-checking.

Yet the AI advancements became clear after Eliot Higgins, founder of the investigative outlet Bellingcat, was reading this week about the expected indictment of Donald Trump.

He turned to an AI art generator, giving the technology simple prompts, such as, “Donald Trump falling down while being arrested.”

He shared the results – images of the former president surrounded by officers, their badges blurry and indistinct – on Twitter. “Making pictures of Trump getting arrested while waiting for Trump’s arrest,” he wrote.


“I was just mucking about,” Higgins said later in an interview. “I thought maybe five people would retweet it.” Two days later, his posts depicting an event that never happened were viewed nearly 5 million times.

Trump, over the weekend, wrote on Truth Social, his social networking site, that he expected to be arrested on Tuesday, priming his supporters for images of his apprehension. But the AI images were more than he bargained for.

It was “creating a case study in the increasing sophistication of AI-generated images, the ease with which they can be deployed and their potential to create confusion in volatile news environments,” commented The Washington Post newspaper.

“The episode also makes evident the absence of corporate standards or government regulation addressing the use of AI to create and spread falsehoods, The Post added.

Misinformation experts warn the images are harbingers of a new reality: waves of fake photos and videos flooding social media after significant news events and further muddying fact and fiction at crucial times for society.

“It does add noise during crisis events. It also increases the cynicism level,” said Jevin West, a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle who focuses on the spread of misinformation. “You start to lose trust in the system and the information that you are getting.”

Jessica González, co-CEO of the media advocacy group Free Press, said the tech giants are less equipped to combat deep fakes following widespread layoffs.

Meta, Google, and Twitter have collectively laid off tens of thousands of workers in recent months.

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