The famous developers of Photoshop, Adobe, say that is has developed a tool that can detect if an image has been tampered with.
An Adobe researcher, Vlad Morarium, employed artificial intelligence to scan signs of manipulation that are not usually visible to the naked eye. The AI could tell if an element had been added, moved or cut from the photo.
However, the company warned that no piece of technology could provide a foolproof verification system. Photoshop – which was created over 28 years ago – is a powerful image editor, and its name has become a verb of image manipulation.
Existing verification tools can scan an image file's metadata – which contains information on when and where a photo was taken – for signs of mischief and looks for things like inconsistent light.
Using AI to find fake images is a way for Adobe to help "increase trust and authenticity in digital media," the company says. Morarium has spent 14 years researching ways to spot image manipulation, taught artificial intelligence network to recognise signs of colour change and noise inconsistencies in tens of thousands of pictures.
The initial study focused on three common manipulation techniques:
- splicing, where parts of two different images are combined.
- copy-move, where objects in a photograph are moved or cloned from one place to another.
- removal, where an object is removed from a photograph, and filled in.
The line between real and fake is rapidly being harder to distinguish, but it is vitally important that some kind of ability to track the veracity of an image is available to all. Whether this AI can be easily outsmarted by a devious image retoucher is yet to be seen, but the battle for truth and authenticity is certainly kicking up into new terrain.
"It's important to develop technology responsibly, but ultimately these technologies are created in service to society," says Jon Brandt, director for Adobe Research. "Consequently, we all share the responsibility to address potential negative impacts of new technologies through changes to our social institutions and conventions."
Take a closer look at the new AI tool in the video below.