Did Elon Musk Kiss a Robot?

Short answer: no. This photo (or Aigen) of Elon Musk kissing what appears to be a robot is actually an AI-generated illustration.  The maker intended to draw attention to the possible dangers of artificial intelligence. What dangers? Possibly the danger of believing that AI-generated illustrations are photos of actual events.

We know that disinformation is a problem on the internet, and that many people believe unlikely things they see. In fact, many aspects of modern life would have been hard to believe just a few years ago. AI-generated pictures can be very convincing.

Other hoaxes involving AI-generated illustrations include an explosion at the Pentagon, the Pope in a puffer coat, and mug shots of former President Trump.

Trust and verify

Google has announced that their AI-generated photos will be marked as such in the data that can be read by computers. That means that it will not be easy for human beings to make fake photos and pass them off as real.

At least not with Google’s tools.

Other generative AI tools aren’t offering this kind of security measures.

Right now, AI-generated images often show hands with extra fingers or unfortunate distortions. It depends on the skill of the human maker, though. Humans can use graphics software to fine-tune AI-generated images.


But there is also the danger that AI-generated content will confirm human biases. Why do “female” robots have breasts? Why do robots have any secondary sexual characteristics? Why would they even be male or female? It’s a reflection of outmoded gender tropes.

The fictional back story behind the Elon Musk kiss pictures was that Tesla was building wives. Musk has referred to his humanoid robot as a “companion” and a “buddy.” Could an automated wife be anything other than a stereotype?

Stepford Wives has to be the first thing we think of.

So the short answer is no. Elon Musk did not kiss a robot. But the long answer might need to examine why anyone thought he did. Why anyone would want people to think so. Or maybe just how gullible we humans can be.

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