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AI-Generated Imagery Could Pose a Risk to Research Integrity


AI-generated esophageal cancer images

Two out of three biomedical specialists were unable to distinguish generated esophageal cancer images from genuine images.

Credit: Patterns

A small team of researchers at Xiamen University has expressed alarm at the ease with which bad actors can now generate fake AI imagery for use in research projects. They outline their concerns in an opinion piece published in the journal Patterns.

When researchers publish their work in established journals, they often include photographs to show the results of their work. But now the integrity of such photographs is under assault by certain entities who wish to circumvent standard research protocols. Instead of generating photographs of their actual work, they can instead generate them using artificial-intelligence applications. Generating fake photographs in this way, the researchers suggest, could allow the publication of research papers done without any real research.

The researchers generated images using a generative adversarial network to demonstrate the ease with which fake research imagery could be generated.

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