When searching for the renowned singer “Israel Kamakawiwoʻole” on Google, what surfaces isn’t an iconic album cover or a live performance image but an AI-generated depiction. It’s an intriguing, albeit fake, portrayal of the artist, redirecting users to the Midjourney subreddit upon click.
Screenshot of the directed subreddit page.
Examining the image closely, the hallmarks of AI intervention become apparent: inconsistent depth of field, distorted textures on clothing, and even a missing finger on the left hand. Despite advancements, distinguishing AI-generated images remains relatively feasible upon scrutiny.
Ethan Mollick, a Wharton professor delving into AI studies, initially flagged this on X. The lack of any indication of AI origin on these images raises concerns, particularly when they become primary search results for a well-known figure like Iz.
The instance is intriguing, as Iz passed away in 1997, prompting algorithms to prioritise fresh content for users. However, limited recent discourse about Iz led the algorithm to this AI depiction. While seemingly inconsequential for Iz, this occurrence raises pertinent issues surrounding the broader implications of unmarked AI-generated content in search results.
As expected, the AI-generated content failed to resonate well with netizens, drawing a less-than-favourable response. The automated creation did not appeal to the online community, who expressed their dissatisfaction with the outcome. In particular, sentiments emphasised the importance of respecting the dead, underscoring the sensitivity required in handling such matters, a nuance that the AI-generated content evidently lacked.
Responses on Reddit:
This scenario highlights the necessity for Google to establish guidelines concerning AI-generated visuals in search outcomes. Clear labelling or an automatic filter for AI images could avert potential problematic instances. There’s a growing call for transparency and regulation to prevent such occurrences from escalating.
While this incident might not be pervasive, it serves as a pivotal reminder of the imperative need for Google to address and mitigate the unmarked inclusion of AI-generated content in search results.