Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description

More Fake News

Hopefully you took a look at the AI-generated images in our survey posted Monday. If you missed that, the item and quiz link are still available, but it is too late now to be counted in our statistics. If you are just looking for the images without the quiz part, they are here.

Here are the correct answers. The image numbers are in the lower right-hand corner.

AI-generated: 02 04 05 06 07 09 11 12 14 16 18 19 20
Actual photographs: 01 03 08 10 13 15 17

We got 4,795 responses. Let's run down the collective results. To start, here is the AI-generated image that fooled the largest number of people:

Indian woman in sari

An ominous 66.6% of respondents incorrectly identified that as being real.

Here's how people did on the rest of the fake images, from most accurate guesses to least (you can click on any image to view the larger version we put on the quiz):

A couple dressed in white Incorrect responses: 10.4%


A woman in the foreground with four people in the background Incorrect responses: 12.3%


A man gives a speech with his hand raised Incorrect responses: 29.9%

A women gives a speech Incorrect responses: 20.2%


An elderly couple Incorrect responses: 32.6%


A log cabin Incorrect responses: 33.7%

Two white rabbits Incorrect responses: 36.1%


A couple, her in black, him in white Incorrect responses: 42.8%


A surgeon Incorrect responses: 47.3%

A city block viewed from above Incorrect responses: 47.9%        A woman with a remote control Incorrect responses: 49.1%        Oranges Incorrect responses: 64.9%

Among the seven real photographs, this is the one that was least believed:

A modernist-style house

A sizable majority, 60.9% of respondents, incorrectly deemed that a fake.

Here are the results for the rest of the real images, from most accurate to least (again, click on an image to view the larger version we put on the quiz):

A crowd in a small town or village Incorrect responses: 10.4%


A brown rabbit Incorrect responses: 12.3%


Apples Incorrect responses: 29.9%

The ocean shore Incorrect responses: 30.2%        A couple embracing Incorrect responses: 32.6%        A gray cat Incorrect responses: 43.7%

Only seven people (0.14%) got them all right. If you are one of those seven, congratulations. However, remember you were warned that some were AI-generated so probably you looked at all the details very carefully. If a person who has not been clued in to how good AI is these days saw the fakes on Facebook, we suspect that person might accept them all as real.

Some other numbers, in case you are interested. The average number of correct answers was 12.2, the median score was 12, and the mode was 13. This means that the typical person got 7 or 8 out of 20 (35-40%) wrong—even knowing there were fakes in the mix. In addition to the seven perfectos there were 29 people who got 19 right. On the other end, the worst score for someone who answered all the questions was 4 out of 20; there were three such basement-dwellers. We did not ask for any identifying information, so the only things we know about individual users is what city their IP address is in, and what platform they used to take the quiz. The seven people who got them all right were using MacOS (5 people), Linux (1) and Android (1). The three people who got only 4 right were all using Windows. Take from that what you will.

Now a word about how we did this. We used Adobe Photoshop beta. If you are a subscriber to Adobe Cloud (or to just Photoshop), download the beta and draw a rectangle with the marquee tool. A box will appear asking for what you want the image to be (e.g., a Black woman watching television). Just fill it in and wait a minute. Once the image appears, it will be loaded as a normal Photoshop image in its own layer. This means all the normal Photoshop editing tools are available to fix up minor bugs. Consequently, images that are almost perfect can often be made perfect with a bit of work.

Adobe understands what it is letting loose on the world here. It has rules about what you can and cannot ask for. No nudity or porn. Also, no known people, so you can't get Donald Trump in jail or in bed with Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). The rules are pretty strict. Adobe also puts some metadata in the images. It doesn't say "Generated by Photoshop" but someone with sufficient knowledge can extract the metadata and see that it was generated by AI. Most people won't have the raw image to work with. Also, the metadata can be removed by converting to some image format that does not support metadata and then converting back to jpg.

Photoshop is not the only text-to-image program out there. There is a whole slew of them. See, for example, this list. Some of the companies also have rules about what you can get, but as more and more companies get into this business, there are bound to be a few sleazy ones that have no rules. If you want Ron DeSantis in bed with Melania Trump, a live boy, a dead girl, and a drag queen in Mickey Mouse ears, sure, why not? The possibilities for blackmail, especially for politicians, would be endless. You want to make your opponent look really bad, that will be $10 for the first 10 generated images, please.

Making fake images with Photoshop is possible now, but to make a really good one, you need a lot of experience and skill with the program. Most people running for a state Senate, or even the U.S. House, don't have that kind of expertise or (probably) the money to hire someone with no scruples (people like that tend to be more expensive than regular Photoshop experts). This new technology allows summer interns to do it in a few minutes. Viewer beware. We are entering scary times.

The fact that it is quite easy to fool people with AI is not widely known. If you want to help spread the word, you could post a link to this item to social media sites, send it to your friends, etc. Click on the "More Fake News" headline above to go to a page with only the last item and copy the address bar or copy and paste this URL:

Thanks. (V)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates