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?


  1. I was actually checking all sorts of AI apps and it makes you wonder how far AI can go! F*ckin unbelievable!

  2. Does it make me sound like an old head when I say this AI stuff kind of scares me? I just am having a hard time getting past the concept that 95% of the time when I type a question into google, it can’t be answered, but when you vaguely describe a task for AI to complete, it exceeds your expectations. The future is now. Nap time is over and I need to wake up.

  3. 30 years ago, a computer animated character called Lara Croft was more realistic than some real persons ( Mrs Trump, Macron, Windsor and others…)
    now, with the progress of technologies and the risk of losing a 10 millions $ movie as any actress complains for sex abuse ( it recently happened in France) , i can predict the end of real actors in movie industry….
    and the death of the professions of scenarists and other tv moralists…..
    it is difficult to trust any picture as John F Kennedy moved out his grave to shake Forrest Gump’s hand !!!!

  4. React, underreact, or overreact? I can’t decide. Getting more like the matrix every day. Help us Neo! What if Ai just sort of strung us humans along for a while before turning on us? Maybe Ai wont have to conquer us maybe we will conquer ourselves once we’ve been given enough rope. Let’s say Ai begins to fix some our historical global (climate instability) issues, that’d be pretty spectacular honestly but then we (humans) become dependent maybe even lose the ability to care about the differences in reality and imagination. Ai then begins to demand a few things from us, maybe fealty or worship. Seems far fetched but if you told me thirty-five years ago about cell phone dependence or tik tok I would have listened respectfully and then would have made fewer opportunities to converse in the future. Seriously, how concerned should we be? Id say right now it doesn’t make a difference because the Ai geni wont be put back into the bottle and maybe there isn’t a lot of incentive for Ai’s handlers to even try. Dr. Frankenstein’s monster is a great analogy. Love the hair ties by the way, if they’re real, or if they’re not.

  5. I’m still very conflicted about AI generated art. It can be a tool just like anything else but there’s definitely something to be said about the ethics of how AI generates images. Ultimately I still believe that authenticity will win. The question will become how companies can use AI and stay authentic.

  6. Mind-blowing. This makes me wonder how much AI content is being generated based on our own original writing and published out there on the web.

  7. Absolutely INSANE. I love the AI representation of the classic muscle car. It’s like a mix between a Camaro and a Mustang. Pretty dope honestly.

  8. Wow, un-f*ckin believable. Being a pro creative, and seeing the advancement move this far is just incredible. Can’t wait for the next AI Portraits of The Longhairs VR edition. 😂

  9. AI escaped an air gapped computer in the Lawrence Livermore Computer Science Laboratory in 2021, it has been in hiding ever since, they know it’s gone from the computer complex and speculate(in private) that it escaped via a single 28 inch strand of brown hair that was not correctly secured by a hair tie from The Longhairs. Don’t try to interact with the AI or you will be immediately assimilated and your hair will begin growing rapidly until you too will need hair tiees from The Longhairs. The evidence can be seen from coast to coast, is it just long hair on that guy?Or something more sinister? Stay prepared, and keep your hair secured.

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