AI-fabricated images of Trump’s arrest go viral on Twitter

The fake images garnered over five million views.
Ameya Paleja
Trump arrest images created using generative AI
Trump arrest images created using generative AI

Eliot Higgins/ Twitter 

Even as Manhattan grand jury is still deciding whether former U.S. President Donald Trump be indicted and charged for falsifying business records, artificial intelligence (AI) generated images of his arrest are already going viral on the social media platform Twitter.

While deep fakes or synthetic media have been around for quite some time, the recent rush of photo-realistic images has been powered by the advent of easy-to-use AI algorithms like Stable Diffusion and MidJourney.

As Interesting Engineering reported recently, improvements to these algorithms are being rolled out faster than before and are empowering users to prototype faster. The fake images surrounding Trump and his family bring out the dark side of how quickly technology is developing and need no technical skill to churn out fake imagery.

Deep fake images of Donald Trump

The image showing Trump falling over while getting arrested has garnered over five million views on Twitter.

Another set of images shows Trump being chased by officers in uniform. The 76-year-old former President would need to be in really good shape to put that much distance between himself and the chasing officers.

There are other images showing Trump family members expressing anger and frustration, while more show him walking into jail and picking up a jumpsuit in prison.

The creator of these images, Eliot Higgins, is the founder and creative director at Bellingcat, a Netherlands-based investigative group. Higgins also spoke to media outlets about the images he created using Midjourney version 5, which got him banned from the generative AI platform.

Speaking to AP, Higgins said that using the software was to demonstrate how good the algorithms have become at generating realistic images. However, there is also the flip side, where the images are created with errors, such as Trump having three legs. This is the very image that went viral and clearly; people missed the major flaw in the image. There is another issue with Trump shown with a police belt, which shouldn't be the case.

Speaking to Wired, Higgins also gave more telltale signs that the images were not real. The text on the police badges is all garbled up and the facial expressions of popular faces, such as Trump and his family, are over-the-top, while others are not. While the AI is progressing at a fast pace, it is far from perfect and its images of the body are quite contorted and far from looking natural.

Higgins' text before sharing these images, which says that these are created, perhaps saves him from being banned on Twitter too. However, others might not be so clear about the origins of the images and they can spread quite easily on social media.

With the rapidly changing scene in AI, regulations need to catch up quickly, too, and this might just be a teaser of the rapidly approaching future.

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