According to Bloomberg*, Google is adding two new features to its image search to reduce the spread of misinformation, especially now that artificial intelligence tools have made the creation of photorealistic fakes trivial. The Alphabet Inc.* company’s first new feature is called ‘About this image,’ serving up additional context like when an image or similar ones were first indexed by Google, where they first appeared and where else they’ve shown up online. The intent is to help users pinpoint the original source while also contextualizing an image with any debunking evidence that might have been provided by news organisations.
Google will mark every AI-generated image created by its tools as such and it’s working with other platforms and services to make sure they add the same markup to the files they put out. Mid-journey and Shutterstock are among the publishers Google has on board, and the goal is to ensure that all AI content that appears in search results is flagged as such. The provenance of images online is a growing issue in the AI age, and there are several startups working to produce verification and authentication tools. Microsoft-backed Truepic Inc.*, for example, offers systems that ensure an image hasn’t been manipulated from capture to delivery.
This is a huge leap forward in the combat of misinformation and disinformation appearing online. Any tools created to mitigate the risk of images and information being used in the wrong context paves the way for a safer, more positive online experience. Manipulated images aren’t anything new but it’s the speed and ease of these images being created that could prove so powerfully dangerous. Without authenticity and verification tools or any kind of regulation – which would be nearly impossible – any kind of notice to help viewers will be greatly appreciated. There will be, however, ways to circumnavigate these warnings where people use generative AI away from well-known platforms so caution will still be advised with the rapid growth of fake imagery.
*ESET does not bear any responsibility for the accuracy of this information.