UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | April 15, 2024

OPINION | AI-generated photos are wreaking havoc on social media

Artificial intelligence generated photos of Taylor Swift and Ryan Gosling highlight the growing concerns of misinformation and image manipulation on social media. As AI advances, it’s crucial to navigate its implications responsibly to ensure the integrity of online content. | Image curated using Canva’s AI magic studio

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Artificial Intelligence is turning into something bigger than we thought at an incredibly fast pace. 

Considering how influential social media is on society today, AI has a huge platform to cause change. People can use AI for assistance in homework, writing professional papers and helping make artwork. With how rapidly this software is advancing, people are beginning to abuse it’s abilities by using it to cheat, spread false information and degrade those who are both famous and not.

Taylor Swift is worth $1.1 billion, has an average of 72,000 spectators per concert, and has over 278 million followers on Instagram. Being as famous as she is can bring a lot of good but a lot more bad. Famous people get into bad situations all the time, and the popularity of the media offers more chances for bad things to happen. 

One example of how AI is getting out of hand is the recent issue of people making AI-generated art of Taylor Swift. Most Swift searches on the X app have been blocked due to AI-generated sexually explicit images of Swift being posted. These images were viewed millions of times before they were taken down Jan. 26. As a result of these images, Swift is no longer able to be searched on the platform.

Swift is not the only celebrity who has encountered issues with photos being generated that are false or offensive. Megan Fox, John David Washington, Tom Hanks and many more have spoken out about not having any involvement with circulating images or videos generated with their likeness.

I have seen people making AI photos of celebrities all over TikTok and Instagram. Some are of famous people being paired together in favor of what fans want. Sometimes these images add children into the mix, making it seem like these celebrities are in cahoots with each other or have actual families together. 

An AI-generated image of Harry Styles and Taylor Swift with children of their own found on the internet.

Now, I’m not saying that all of these are perfectly realistic, but some of the photos I have seen are incredibly realistic, and I have to double-check the image. The majority of the time I understand that it is fake, but there are people out there who are mindlessly scrolling so fast, they think it is real information because they don’t do the research.

These AI-generated images aren’t the only problem. It extends to written articles, videos and messaging. This can spread fake news like wildfire. 

Take Snapchat for example. The AI chat feature in this app allows the user to talk with the bot any time they want. Most people have found that they can train the bot to act and respond with replies that correlate to the person they have trained it to be. 

I have seen people train these bots to impersonate family members, people from books and famous people. This can cause a lot of problems because users are able to customize the replies.

If someone were to post a screenshot of a conversation on social media they had with the AI feature chat, they could easily make it seem like the messages are from an influencer or celebrity. This feature has the ability to fake quotes and messages from people even when they aren’t remotely involved. 

Both on and off social media, we as a society need to be both careful and respectful with AI. Even if the AI-generated images or articles being spread around are clearly fake, be mindful of the impact they will make on others in the world, whether they are famous or not. No one wants fake information to be spread about them on major platforms. It can change people’s lives. Let’s make sure it is for the better.