Fake AI image of Pentagon 'explosion' briefly tumbles markets: report

Fake AI image of Pentagon 'explosion' briefly tumbles markets: report
Image via Creative Commons.

When President Joe Biden officially announced his reelection campaign on April 25, the Republican National Committee (RNC) responded with an over-the-top attack ad that used computer-generated artificial intelligence (AI) software to depict a dystopian future during a second Biden term. Critics of the ad slammed the RNC for using fake images and warned that politically, AI technology could be used to fool a lot of people in the future.

Early Monday morning, May 22, an image depicting an explosion near the Pentagon was circulated online. It was fake, seemingly generated by AI technology; there was no such explosion. But according to Business Insider, the image nonetheless caused financial markets to briefly tumble.

Business Insider's Rebecca Cohen reports, "The photo was spread by dozens of accounts, including RT, a Russian state-media Twitter account with over 3 million followers. But the post has since been deleted. Other accounts appear to be affiliated with conspiracy theories or the war in Ukraine."

READ MORE: 'I'm worried': Harvard professor explains why AI technology could imperil democracy in the future

The reporter adds, "Information about the purported explosion was shared by Twitter account @DeItaone at 10:06 a.m. local time. By 10:10, the market had fallen 0.26 percent, but quickly bounced back."

The Arlington County, Virginia Fire Department outside Washington D.C. has confirmed that the "explosion" was fake, tweeting, "There is NO explosion or incident taking place at or near the Pentagon reservation, and there is no immediate danger or hazards to the public."

NBC News reporter Ben Collins tweeted that a "fake Bloomberg account with a Verified Blue Check" was among the Twitter users who posted the "apparently AI-generated" image.

READ MORE: 'I'm worried': Harvard professor explains why AI technology could imperil democracy in the future

Business Insider's full report is available at this link.

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