For a brief moment last month, an image purporting to show an explosion near the Pentagon spread on social media, causing panic and a market sell-off. The image, which bore all the hallmarks of being generated by AI, was later debunked by authorities.
But according to Jeffrey McGregor, the CEO of Truepic, it is “truly the tip of the iceberg of what’s to come.” As he put it, “We’re going to see a lot more AI generated content start to surface on social media, and we’re just not prepared for it.”
McGregor’s company is working to address this problem. Truepic offers technology that claims to authenticate media at the point of creation through its Truepic Lens. The application captures data including date, time, location and the device used to make the image, and applies a digital signature to verify if the image is organic, or if it has been manipulated or generated by AI.
Truepic, which is backed by Microsoft, was founded in 2015, years before the launch of AI-powered image generation tools like Dall-E and Midjourney. Now McGregor says the company is seeing interest from “anyone that is making a decision based off of a photo,” from NGOs to media companies to insurance firms looking to confirm a claim is legitimate.
“When anything can be faked, everything can be fake,” McGregor said. “Knowing that generative AI has reached this tipping point in quality and accessibility, we no longer know what reality is when we’re online.”
Tech companies like Truepic have been working to combat online misinformation for years, but the rise of a new crop of AI tools that can quickly generate compelling images and written work in response to user prompts has added new urgency to these efforts. In recent months, an AI-generated image of Pope Francis in a puffer jacket went viral and AI-generated images of former President Donald Trump getting arrested were widely shared, shortly before he was indicted.