On May 22, 2023, a fake image of an explosion at the Pentagon briefly went viral. The image, which was created using generative AI, was spread by several accounts on social media. This caused a ten-minute-long dip in the markets as investors panicked and sold off stocks.
The Pentagon quickly issued a statement denying that there had been any explosion. However, the damage had already been done. The fake image had caused widespread fear and uncertainty. It also highlighted the dangers of generative AI.
Fake AI Pentagon explosion explained
The explosion photo that went viral on social media purportedly showed damage to the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and was generated using AI software.
However, this did not prevent it from being shared by a large number of social media accounts, leading to a short drop in the stock market.
Twitter users were alarmed early on Monday by a photograph said to show a huge cloud of smoke near a structure and rumors that an explosion had taken place close to the Pentagon.
However, the Arlington Police Department stated that the photo and the statements it accompanied were both false.
Dangers of generative AI
Generative AI is a type of artificial intelligence that can create new content, such as images, text, and music. It is still under development, but it has already been used to create some impressive and realistic-looking content. However, generative AI can also be used to create fake content, such as the image of the Pentagon explosion.
Confident that this picture claiming to show an "explosion near the pentagon" is AI generated.
Check out the frontage of the building, and the way the fence melds into the crowd barriers. There's also no other images, videos or people posting as first hand witnesses. pic.twitter.com/t1YKQabuNL
— Nick Waters (@N_Waters89) May 22, 2023
The dangers of generative AI are not limited to the spread of misinformation. Fake content can also be used to manipulate people’s emotions and behavior. For example, a fake news article could be used to incite violence or to spread fear.
The AI Pentagon explosion is a wake-up call. It shows that generative AI is a powerful tool that can be used for good or for evil. It is important to be aware of the dangers of generative AI and to take steps to protect ourselves from it.
Here are some tips for protecting yourself from generative AI:
- Be critical of the content you see online. Don’t believe everything you see.
- Check the source of the content. Is it from a reputable source?
- Look for signs that the content is fake. For example, is the grammar or spelling bad? Are the images or videos pixelated?
- Report fake content to the platform where you saw it.
We need to be vigilant in protecting ourselves from the dangers of generative AI. By being aware of the risks and taking steps to protect ourselves, we can help to prevent generative AI from being used for harm.