Over the weekend, an AI-generated image of Pope Francis wearing a puffy white coat went viral on Twitter, and apparently many people believed it was a real image. Since then, the puffy pontiff has inspired commentary on the deceptive nature of AI-generated images, which are now nearly photorealistic.
The pope image, created using Midjourney v5 (an AI image synthesis model), first appeared in a tweet by a user named Leon (@skyferrori) on Saturday and quickly began circulating as part of other meme tweets featuring similar images as well, including one that humorously speculates about a pope “lifestyle brand.”
— leon (@skyferrori) March 25, 2023
Not long after, Twitter attached a reader-added context warning to the tweet that reads, “This is an AI-generated image of Pope Francis. It is not a genuine photo.“