How to Detect AI Images (and why it doesn't matter)

12 Jan 202405:21

TLDRThe video discusses the evolving world of Magic the Gathering, a popular card game, and its relationship with human and AI-generated art. It highlights a controversy where a background image, suspected to be AI-generated, was defended by the company as human-made. The speaker offers three steps to identify AI art and reflects on the implications of AI advancements in art, questioning when and why we choose to scrutinize images. The video also touches on the broader societal issue of discerning authenticity in a rapidly evolving technological landscape.


  • 🎲 The speaker is a fan of Magic the Gathering, a complex card game that has been around since the 90s.
  • 🖼️ Each Magic the Gathering card features original artwork by human artists, fostering a unique relationship between the game company and fantasy artists.
  • 🚫 The company has stated it will not use AI-generated images for card art, maintaining the human touch in its creative process.
  • 💬 A recent Twitter post by Magic the Gathering sparked controversy when the background image appeared to be AI-generated, leading to the company's defense of its human-made origin.
  • 🔍 To identify AI-generated images, one can consider the creation process, examine small details, and assess the consistency of elements like text and numbers.
  • 📈 AI's ability to create realistic images is rapidly improving, making it increasingly difficult to distinguish between AI and human-made art.
  • 👀 The level of scrutiny given to images varies, with some raising red flags due to familiarity or trust issues with the source.
  • 🤔 The modern dilemma lies in deciding when and why to scrutinize content, as not all images are closely examined in our daily lives.
  • 🍓 The story of the 'puffer pope' illustrates how context and preconceived notions influence our perception of images.
  • 🌡️ The speaker mentions a significant temperature drop in Missoula, affecting their attire for the video message.
  • 💰 An opportunity is presented for those with $500 or more to donate and amplify their impact through The Project for Awesome matching fund.
  • 🎥 The speaker plans to discuss the broader implications of AI image generation in a future video, highlighting its fascination and importance.

Q & A

  • What is the name of the competitive card game mentioned in the script?

    -The competitive card game mentioned is called Magic the Gathering.

  • In which decade was Magic the Gathering first created?

    -Magic the Gathering was first created in the 1990s.

  • What is unique about the artwork on the cards of Magic the Gathering?

    -The unique aspect is that each card features a piece of art created by a human artist, establishing a strong relationship between fantasy artists and the company.

  • What was the company's stance on using AI-generated images for card art?

    -The company has stated that they will never use AI-generated images as art for cards.

  • What event led to the controversy surrounding the Magic the Gathering Twitter account?

    -The controversy arose when the Twitter account posted an image with a background that appeared to be created by generative AI, despite their previous stance against AI art.

  • What are the three steps suggested to identify an image created by generative AI?

    -The steps are: 1) Consider how the image could have been created. 2) Examine small details closely. 3) Recognize that none of this matters as AI will keep improving and we cannot scrutinize every image.

  • Why is the ability to identify AI-generated images considered less important over time?

    -It's less important because AI models are continually improving, making it increasingly difficult to distinguish their creations from human-made art.

  • What was the outcome of the investigation into the background image on the Magic the Gathering Twitter post?

    -The Magic the Gathering account later confirmed suspicions that the image was indeed generated by AI, despite a vendor's assurance that it was not.

  • What is the significance of the 'puffer pope' example in the script?

    -The 'puffer pope' example illustrates how people may not scrutinize images that don't raise red flags, and how our understanding of what is typical or expected can lead us to accept unusual or incorrect depictions at face value.

  • What is the Project for Awesome and how does the matching fund work?

    -The Project for Awesome is a fundraising event where donations are matched by a fund raised from individuals who can afford to donate substantial amounts. This matching fund doubles the impact of each donation made during the event.

  • What is the main concern the speaker has about AI image generators as they currently operate?

    -The main concern is that while AI image generators are cool and fun to use, they may not necessarily be a good thing in their current operation, though the specifics are not detailed in the script.



🎮 The Evolution and Controversy of Magic the Gathering Art

This paragraph discusses the speaker's interest in Magic the Gathering, a complex card game from the 90s, and the evolving nature of its art. The speaker notes that each card has traditionally featured human-created art, fostering a unique bond between fantasy artists and the game company. However, a recent Twitter post by the game's account sparked controversy when it showcased a background image that appeared to be generated by AI, despite the company's stance against using AI-generated art. The speaker then offers a three-step method to identify AI-generated images, emphasizing the challenges in discerning such art and the inevitability of improving AI models. The core message is that while AI art raises important questions about authenticity and trust, it's also a reflection of broader societal issues regarding scrutiny and acceptance.


🌟 Updates on the Project for Awesome and Upcoming Events

In this paragraph, the speaker transitions to discussing the Project for Awesome, highlighting its matching fund initiative that amplifies the impact of donations. The speaker encourages those with the means to contribute, explaining how the fund works to double donations made during the event. Additionally, the speaker mentions upcoming appearances in Los Angeles, expressing excitement to meet attendees despite all events being sold out. The paragraph concludes with a reiteration of gratitude towards the audience and a teaser for more information about the Project for Awesome in the following week's content.



💡Magic the Gathering

Magic the Gathering is a popular competitive card game that originated in the 1990s. The game is known for its intricate rules and the artwork on its cards, which are created by human artists. In the video, the speaker mentions being a sidelines fan of the game and following Magic News, indicating the game's cultural impact and community engagement.

💡Generative AI

Generative AI refers to artificial intelligence systems that can create new content, such as images, music, or text, without direct human input. In the context of the video, the speaker discusses the ability of generative AI to produce images that can sometimes be identified by certain telltale signs, highlighting the evolving capabilities and implications of this technology.

💡Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think and learn like humans. In the video, the speaker talks about the advancements in AI, particularly in the field of image generation, and how it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish AI-generated art from human-created art.

💡Human Artist

A human artist is an individual who creates works of art, such as paintings, drawings, or digital designs, using their own skills, creativity, and imagination. In the video, the speaker emphasizes the importance of human artists in creating the artwork for Magic the Gathering cards and the unique relationship between artists and the game company.

💡Image Analysis

Image analysis is the process of examining and interpreting visual content to extract meaning, information, or patterns. In the video, the speaker outlines a three-step process for analyzing images to determine if they were created by generative AI, which involves looking at the image's creation method, details, and overall authenticity.

💡AI Art

AI Art refers to artistic creations that are generated or significantly influenced by artificial intelligence. This can include images, music, poetry, and other forms of art that are produced with the help of AI algorithms. In the video, the speaker discusses the growing prevalence of AI art and the challenges it poses in distinguishing between human and AI-generated creations.


Authenticity refers to the quality of being genuine, original, and not a copy or imitation. In the context of the video, the speaker is concerned with the authenticity of the artwork used in Magic the Gathering, particularly in relation to the use of AI-generated images.


Trust is the reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, or surety of a person or thing. In the video, the speaker discusses the trust that the Magic the Gathering company has placed in a vendor, who incorrectly assured that an image was not generated by AI, leading to a breach of trust among fans.

💡Project for Awesome

The Project for Awesome is a charitable initiative that encourages donations to various causes by offering a matching fund system. This system doubles the impact of individual donations by providing an additional donation from the fund. In the video, the speaker promotes the Project for Awesome, emphasizing its effectiveness in amplifying the positive impact of charitable giving.

💡Community Engagement

Community engagement refers to the process of involving and interacting with a community to build relationships, foster a sense of belonging, and address shared concerns or interests. In the video, the speaker's discussion of the Magic the Gathering community and their reaction to the AI art controversy illustrates the importance of community engagement in maintaining trust and open dialogue.

💡Cultural Impact

Cultural impact refers to the influence that a particular event, phenomenon, or entity has on the beliefs, values, and behaviors of a society or community. In the video, the speaker discusses the cultural impact of Magic the Gathering, a game that has fostered a dedicated community and influenced the competitive card game industry since the 1990s.


The speaker is a sidelines fan of Magic the Gathering, a complex card game from the 90s.

Magic the Gathering cards have always featured artwork by human artists, creating a strong relationship between fantasy artists and the game company.

The company behind Magic the Gathering has pledged not to use AI-generated images for card art.

A recent Twitter post by Magic the Gathering showcased card reprints with a background image suspected to be AI-generated.

The Twitter account insisted that the background image was made by a human, despite skepticism from followers.

The speaker outlines three simple steps to identify images potentially created by generative AI.

The first step involves considering the possible creation methods of the image, such as photography, 3D modeling, or digital painting.

The second step is to examine the image closely, looking at small details that may reveal inconsistencies or artifacts of AI generation.

Generative AI often struggles with rendering text accurately, which can be a telltale sign.

The third and most important step is recognizing that identifying AI-generated images will become increasingly difficult as the technology improves.

The speaker emphasizes that we generally do not scrutinize the numerous images we encounter daily unless a red flag is raised.

The story of the 'puffer pope' illustrates how we might overlook inconsistencies in images that do not immediately seem suspicious.

The speaker questions when and why we choose to scrutinize things, highlighting a broader issue about our engagement with media.

Magic the Gathering's Twitter account confirmed the speaker's suspicion about the AI-generated image.

The speaker expresses concerns about the current state of AI image generators and their potential negative impacts.

The speaker mentions a significant temperature drop in Missoula, from 30 degrees to negative eleven.

The Project for Awesome matching fund is open, offering to double donations and make the world a better place.

The speaker will provide more information about the Project for Awesome and its changes in the coming week.

The speaker is excited about upcoming shows in Los Angeles, even though they are sold out.