Blurring the Line Between Reality and Imagination | AI Portraits Revisited

In Educate by El Moreno15 Comments

Exploring the Rapid Advancement in AI Content Creation

In January 2023, I delved into the ethical questions surrounding the use of AI-driven content and its potential consequences. Within a mere five months, the progress in AI content creation has been striking, pushing the boundaries between reality and imagination. In this follow-up we’ll examine the astonishing advancements made in such a short time.
Ai geneerated image of a blond man with long hair

Unprecedented Breakthroughs

AI engines for content creation have made significant strides since January. They are now capable of producing lifelike and nuanced portraits, as well as a wider variety of content, including music, animations and interactive experiences. These advancements have opened up new creative avenues—while blurring the lines even further between reality and imagination.

Let’s compare the AI capability by taking a prompt from the last AI portraits post and running it through Midjourney 5.1.
Prompt: portrait of man with long native american style braids, motorcycle club, tough, gangster, full color photography in wide angle lens
Original MJ V4
Ai generated image of a biker with long dark hair and leather jacket
New MJ V5.1
Ai generated image of a biker with long dark hair and leather jacket with patches

While the original was impressive, the new output is bewildering. The framing, perspective details of the lighting, skin, hair and face. The use of depth of field and most incredibly the accessories, outfit, tattoos and even tan lines. It’s simply mind-blowing.

Look closely at the hair, notice the little fly-aways coming off the top of the high ball. It’s freaking NUTS!

This latest update more accurately reflects who I had originally envisioned when writing the prompt. Not only are the photorealistic attributes of the image incredible, the system was able to generate it in a fraction of the time it took back in January.

Here are some other examples of this blurred line between what’s real and what is not.

  • ai portrait of a spanish man modeling in the sunlight on the street in downtown LA
  • ai portrait of black man standing in the street at night
  • ai portraits of viking men on horse back with long hair
  • ai photography portrait of man with long hair
  • photography style ai portrait of man with long hair on roof top in San Diego
  • realistic ai photography of man with medium long hair getting a hair cut in barber shop
  • ai portrait of mexican guy standing in front of his 1960s mustang
  • ai portrait of young viking boy with red hair
  • ai portrait of asian man in the street at night cyberpunk style
  • ai portrait of man in a house with perfect lighting coming through the blinds
  • ai portrait of asian motocycle biker sitting on his bike looking hard AF
  • ai portrait of couple smiling standing in dirty room
  • ai portrait of guy with curly black hair looking confused

The Ethical Conundrum: Real vs. AI-Created

As AI continues to improve, the ethical concerns raised in my previous post take on a new dimension. With AI now capable of producing even more intricate, damn-near indistinguishable from human-created content, we must grapple with the challenge of discerning between what is real and what is AI content creation.

How do we ensure that the line between reality and AI-generated content remains clear? What are the potential consequences of blurring that line in various aspects of our lives?

These questions have become much harder to answer…IN ONLY 5 MONTHS.

Navigating the Intersection

As content creators and businesses continue to explore AI's potential, it is essential to strike a balance between embracing AI content creation and upholding ethical principles. We must consider the impact of AI-generated content on society, the environment, and individual wellbeing.

Elefante and I ruminated on this very issue on The Mane Cave in February 2023. We were guessing it would still take one, two, or maybe five years before we’d be seeing what we are now witnessing with this technology.

What remains important is the prioritization of transparency and authenticity when integrating AI into the creative process. What do I mean by that? Crediting the technology and ensuring that audiences are aware of its role. But will people do that?

Yet to be determined.

Looking Forward

The rapid progress in AI content creation over the past five months has been both exhilarating and disconcerting. As AI continues to evolve, the ethical implications and potential consequences of integrating it into our daily lives will be profoundly more complex.

A cautious and mindful approach is the way forward. It is critical we continue to engage in conversations and remain vigilant in addressing the challenges and opportunities presented by this transformative technology. That’s the key to navigating this brave new world.

But honestly can you believe those images??

Where do you stand on AI?