A fake image of an alleged explosion at the Pentagon in the United States sparked chaos on Monday. Markets were sent tumbling for ten minutes, and there were further concerns about the risks of Artificial Intelligence (AI) generating content.
The image, which many believe was generated by AI, circulated on various social media accounts, leading the Department of Defense to publicly stress that there was no such explosion. A spokesman for the Department of Defense secretary said: “We can confirm that this was a false account and that the Pentagon was not attacked today.”
This incident follows other instances of hoax images creating havoc on the internet, including the arrest of former US President Donald Trump and Pope Francis wearing a puffy coat jacket. The first publication of the fake Pentagon image on Twitter came from a promotional account for the QAnon movement, which had previously shared false information. However, the original source of the image was not determined.
Emerging generative AI technologies allow laypeople to create compelling images in seconds without requiring training and experience to use programs like Photoshop. The image of the Pentagon shared on social networks affected the markets for a few minutes. The expanded S&P 500 Index, which includes the top 500 companies and is a primary benchmark for investors, fell as much as 0.29% from its close on Friday before recovering.
This false image emphasizes the importance of fact-checking and verifying information before sharing it on social media platforms. It also highlights the potential dangers of AI-generated content, which can be used to spread false information at a much faster rate than ever before. As AI technology becomes more advanced, it is crucial to stay vigilant and discerning in determining the authenticity of information and images shared online.