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Deepfake Dazzle at the Met Gala: How Generative AI Stole the Spotlight with Virtual Celebrity Fashion

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Chiara Crescenzi

Social Media Swamped with Met Gala Deepfakes

This article was first published in WIRED Italia and has been translated from Italian.

The Met Gala, without question one of the year's most eagerly awaited occasions, saw a unique challenge to the limelight usually reserved for music and entertainment stars on its red carpet: the presence of generative AI deepfakes vying for the audience's interest.

This morning, a post shared on platform X, which has since attracted almost 15 million views, features Katy Perry in an eye-catching gown adorned with three-dimensional flower decorations that flow down to the floor, seamlessly blending into what appears to be authentic moss. However, an accompanying Community Note on the post reveals that the image is not genuine.

Unsurprisingly, shortly after the initial snapshot of the vocalist at the Met Gala made its rounds, a subsequent image quickly followed, capturing her adorned in a bronze-hued corset paired with an exquisite floral skirt, channeling the ultimate Xena vibe. Such an ensemble would surely have turned heads had it been showcased at the gala. However, the question arises on how we can differentiate between an authentic photo and one crafted by artificial intelligence, especially since Katy Perry was not present at the function. Despite her absence, tweets featuring the artist's images spread like wildfire on X, capturing the attention of the pop icon herself, who even showed her appreciation by liking them.

Perry wasn't the sole famous figure to have deepfake images circulate from the Met Gala. Rihanna, despite not being present at the function, was depicted in online photos donning a grand ensemble as if she were there. Additionally, counterfeit images of Dua Lipa and Lady Gaga proliferated online.

If you're curious about the reason, it's straightforward: Generative artificial intelligence has become a readily accessible tool for generating and sharing various kinds of images for virtually any event. The Met Gala naturally became a prime target for its application, particularly because it gave enthusiasts the chance to virtually style celebrities such as Katy Perry and Rihanna in their preferred designs.

Simon Matt

Catherine O'Flaherty

Joel Khalili

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