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Real or fake? AI and the rise of the post-truth world

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Jul 11, 2023 By WGSN Insider
Updates from WGSN

90% of online content could be AI-generated by 2026. As the world heads towards this future, uncover the opportunities and dangers of a post-truth society.

Oxford Dictionaries declared “post-truth” as its 2016 international word of the year, at a time when much of online content was rife with misinformation and disinformation. Since then, the blurred lines between truth and falsehood have been exacerbated by the rise of generative AI such as ChatGPT, DALL-E and Midjourney.

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But while AI and fake news present real threats, there is also room for optimism. WGSN’s CEO Carla Buzasi speaks to Cassandra Napoli, Senior Strategist on WGSN Insight, to explore how AI can be leveraged for positive purposes such as imaginative storytelling and meaningful applications in areas including city planning.

So what’s real and what’s not? WGSN subscribers can discover why there is reason to be hopeful and anxious at the same time in our report on The Post-Truth Era, which spotlights the implications of artificially manipulated content that warps reality. Alternatively, request a demo with us to get a balanced perspective on the future of AI.

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Inching towards reality

“My mum texted me a couple of months ago asking if I had seen the Pope in Balenciaga. You might remember those infamous images that began circulating online, which were not real. There’s now 8.8bn TikTok views of these images. Celebrities have come out, like Chrissy Teigen saying that she fell for it. And it just proves that my mum was not alone and that age isn’t necessarily a factor here. We’re dealing with something a bit bigger.”

Image represents the wide range of applications of AI in fields like education, material design, gaming and more
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AI as a force for good

“The rise of AI for city planning or urban development is interesting to me. Much of the AI work is chalked up as a gimmick in this experimental phase, but some creatives are showcasing how it could be applied for real-world solutions. Zach Katz is an artist who leverages DALL-E to reimagine cities as pedestrian-friendly zones. He shares a Google Street View address with the AI and instructs it to add or remove certain elements, suggesting a new way for designing cities in the future.”

Image is a positive imagining of humanities future with AI-enabled fusion as the primary energy source
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Introducing legislation and regulation

“We’ve talked a little bit about digital care culture. From a social media perspective, we’re going to see parents, government and brands working together as a sort of trifecta to protect young users. We talked about how the age of the internet is 13. Now if you add in the idea that there’s possibly going to be 90% of online content being AI-generated by 2026, there’s a real danger.”
– Cassandra Napoli, Senior Strategist, WGSN Insight

Head to Apple or Spotify to hear the full discussion on our Lives of Tomorrow podcast episode, The Truth Dilemma – Trust and Misinformation With the Rise of AI.

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