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How to spot an AI fake

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  • June 13, 2024
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Here in the UK we are in the middle of an election campaign, and specifically the first one where AI may have some sort of impact. There has been a lot of talk and interest in this technology over the last year or so – not least because of the impressive potential it has for improving or streamling some aspects of work.
This being said, it is not without its issues. You will undoubtedly have seen plenty of AI photos and videos that have now been generated and are designed to trick the consumer of this content. So how can you stay vigilant at the time when this malicious content is likely to increase? Today we looks at some telltale signs to be aware of.

As a quick disclaimer, this is not a comprehensive guide as to how AI fakes can be spotted and avoided – but does contain some helpful pointers to look out for. Equally, do not read this as a full disavowel of AI, it has immense potential as a technology when used in responsible ways. 

As with everything do use your best judgement and if something seems too wildly unlikely or too good to be true, it probably is. Let’s look at some important things to be aware of when keeping an eye out for fakes.

Arms, legs and particularly hands

If you think back to art classes at school one of the hardest things to draw are hands. It turns out that the same is true for AI generated images.
A telltale sign for AI images is to look into the background of the picture, is there anything that looks unnatural? Any weird people with multiples of arms, legs or hands they shouldn’t have. Check this out first.

Signage and patterns

Another thing to look out for in the background of pictures is patterns and signage. It’s really tricky for AI to generate wording on signage, so anything that is spelt wrong or has random characters in places could be an indicator.
Equally on patterns, check how they all connect together. If there is anything unusual in terms of how a stripy or a check pattern looks for example, could point you towards this being a fake.

If you’re unsure use the SIFT method

A really helpful process that you can use to identify a potential AI fakes is to use something called the SIFT method. SIFT stands for:
Stop – stop what you’re doing and think about if you need to consider this more deeply.
Investigate – look deeply at the thing you’re worried about, does any of it look obviously wrong?
Find other sources – can you find anything else that helps you to verify what you’re looking at?
Trace original context – if something is notable often there will be multiple images of it, can you find anything else that provides you with the original context?
This is a useful approach to take more broadly when dealing with all types of scams and viruses.
If any of this has prompted thoughts for you on how to approach and tackle IT challenges in your business, remember that WebbyTech is here to help. As always, you can check out the full range of services that we offer here, or contact us directly for a no obligations conversation.