There’s a photo currently circulating on social media that supposedly shows a gigantic cat that was crocheted by an elderly woman. One tweet even has over a million views as of Saturday afternoon. But the image is completely fake.
The image is part of a series created with artificial intelligence software depicting an elderly woman next to gigantic crocheted cats. The images have become quite popular on Instagram, where the people sharing them are clear that they were made using AI tools. Instagram users credit a woman named Lydia Mastrova for creating the images, though I couldn’t independently verify that claim.
It’s not clear what particular program was used to create the fake images, but DALL-E and Midjourney are two enormously popular tools right now. Users can just write simple sentences to describe what they’d like to see and the programs generate the images.
The biggest red flag that these were created using AI are in the hands. As you can see from the zoomed in image below, the left hand on one woman has exceptionally long fingers. AI tools still often struggle with creating realistic looking human fingers.
Other fake crochet-based images that appear to be related to the woman sitting on a couch next to her fake cat also show women on knitted motorcyles. Much like the knitted cat, the images are spreading on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, often without much indication that they’re fake.
The internet has always been filled with fake images, even before the invention of AI tools, including manipulated space shuttles, impossible super moons and supposedly psychic educational films. But artificial intelligence tools have really kicked the fakes into overdrive, as people imagine everything from what Donald Trump would look like palling around with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to what Pope Francis would look like wearing a stylish white coat.
Sometimes, the images aren’t even really “fake” in the strictest sense of the word and instead are just posted with a misleading caption. As one prominent example, a photo of President Lyndon B. Johnson often circulates on social media showing the president hunched over with his hand on his head. People often the very real photo with a caption suggesting Johnson is in agony over the deaths of U.S. soldiers during the Vietnam War. But in context of the other photos taken at the time, Johnson was just struggling to hear a tape recording that was playing in the room and straining to decipher what was being said.
The crocheted kitties are pretty cool looking. But they’re totally fake.