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Why Pope Francis Is the Star of AI-Generated Photos


Pope Francis wearing a long, white puffer jacket inspired by Balenciaga. Francis rocking aviators and revving a motorcycle down a busy street. Francis turning the tables in a dim nightclub. Francis in a tactical vest, preparing to fly a fighter jet. Francis sharing a beer at Burning Man.Over the last few weeks, dozens of photos have appeared showing the leader of the world’s Roman Catholics in strange scenarios, sending social media into a tizzy. Apart from the pontiff himself, the images all have something in common: They are fake, made by artificial intelligence tools that create images from short text prompts.Many public figures — including the basketball star LeBron James and various Real Housewives — have popped up in A.I.-generated pictures recently, but the images with Francis have made the biggest splash. They have earned more views, likes and comments than many other A.I. photos, according to a review by The New York Times, prompting a rac …

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