How to Know if a Photo Is Real or AI Generated (Like That Viral Image of the Pope)

The photos of Pope Francis looked so real that few people realized they were made with AI.

Gabriela Castillo

It seems that the world portrayed in the futuristic series Black Mirror is already a reality; proof of this are the photos of the ‘fashionable’ Pope Francis, which were created with artificial intelligence (AI).

Over the weekend, the Pontiff was a topic of conversation and many memes thanks to the viral images, where he appears walking through the streets of the Vatican wearing a trendy jacket and sneakers.

The truth is that they are quite original, but we must never forget that not everything we see on the Internet is real… like these photos.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

AI, according to Oracle, is the name given to applications with the ability to perform complex tasks that previously required human intervention.

Now, machines would replace this work, achieving the impossible, even when it comes to dressing the Pope extravagantly fashionably.

How the Pope Francis Photos Were Made With AI

The fake photos of Pope Francis were created with Midjourney, through which users can create images of all kinds from text descriptions.

The images were posted on the official Reddit page under the name ‘The Pope Drip’, and despite this, people were carried away and shared them, believing they were real.

How to Tell if an Image Was Created With AI

At first glance, it is not visible, but if we look closely, we can notice some imperfections in photos created with artificial intelligence.

According to TecnoXplora, while it is not something simple, it is not impossible either, but there are tricks to achieve it.

The first thing would be the watermark that some creators usually use to mark their authorship, and the second is pure observation.

Although AI achieves almost real creations, there are still several details that are missed, especially when it comes to people.

Errors in the Pope Francis Photos with AI

In the case of the Pope Francis photos, the most evident error is his ‘deformed’ right hand, with which he holds a drink.

Another one is the misplaced ‘fisherman’s ring’, as in the image he wears it on the middle finger, and it should go on the ring finger.

Finally, the glasses seem to be misplaced, while the crucifix on the neck is only held on one side.

Artificial Intelligence has great advantages, which are applauded, but at the same time, it has caused fear in people, who feel that at some point there will be a huge advance, and they could be replaced.

Story originally written in Spanish by Nayeli Párraga in Cultura Colectiva.