Yep, we fell for that AI photo of the Pope too

AI-generated image of the Pope wearing a puffer jacket
(Image credit: Future/@skyferrori on Twitter)

Who'd have thought that most terrifying example of AI art yet would involve the Pope wearing a big coat? It certainly wasn't on our 2023 bingo sheet, but here we are – and it seems pretty much everyone online fell for the hoax.

What's scary isn't the image itself (it's pretty funny), but how realistic it is. Not only does it genuinely look like Pope Francis is wearing an extremely stylish white puffer coat, but his hands look real too. Yep, AI has truly conquered its biggest weakness.

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The photo (above) has enjoyed over 28M views on Twitter, and of course has been marked with the obligatory context note: 'This is an AI-generated image of Pope Francis. It is not a genuine photo.' But what a photo it is: Pope Francis striding purposefully along in a practically inflatable white puffer, presumably on his way back from the studio after recording his debut mixtape.

And judging by the comments on Twitter, the sheer realism of Puffer Pope has users feeling shook. "Just found out that this photo is AI. Guys we’re so finished, there’s literally no way of knowing what’s real or fake anymore," one comments, while another adds, "This is the first AI image that actually fooled me. I'm scared."

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From women losing it over salad to that haunting recurring character, we've seen plenty of terrifying examples of AI generated imagery lately – but this might be the first time something has fooled the internet quite so collectively. No wonder Adobe is so keen for users to help it 'do the right thing' with AI art

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.