How to Spot an AI-Generated Image?

  • Editor
  • May 16, 2024

The world of imagery is undergoing a revolution with the rise of artificial intelligence. AI can now create incredibly realistic photos, blurring the lines between reality and fabrication. This raises the question: of how to spot an AI-generated image.

Don’t worry, you can now use the best AI tools to identify AI-generated creations. By focusing on specific details within the image, you can become a digital image detective!

Keep reading to become a pro at identifying AI-generated images.

How to Spot an AI-Generated Image – Step-by-Step Guide

Learn how to spot an AI-generated image effectively and accurately.

Step-1 Zoom in for Shape Snooping

Just like inspecting a close-up of a painting, get a really good look at the image. You can do this by pinching your fingers on your phone or using the zoom function on your computer to check if the image is AI-generated.


Find out if any strange shapes or objects don’t quite fit in the scene.

Step-2 Hunt for Imperfections in AI Portraits

Unlike human artists who can capture imperfections, AI sometimes struggles with them. Images with unnaturally smooth skin or a complete absence of pores might be a sign of AI creation.


It can be tricky to spot in today’s world of photo editing, but this selfie of a fashion influencer, generated by Stable Diffusion, is a giveaway.

Step-3 Spot AI Art Through Text Scrutiny

Unlike images, where AI can remix existing content to create new visuals, written language relies on specific combinations of letters to form words with meaning. AI isn’t great at inventing new languages.


Step-4 Decoding Background Blur and Oddities

A completely blurred background might be hiding a mess of mistakes.  Look for impossible buildings with mismatched steps, warped walls, or gravity-defying ceilings. Even furniture can be suspect, with giant chairs or unbalanced tables.


Step-5 Searching for Stereotypes in AI Images

AI reflects the biases present in its training data. If the data is full of stereotypes, the AI will repeat them. This can be anything from racial stereotypes to gender bias. For example, if you ask an AI to generate an image of a “doctor,” it might always show you a white man in a lab coat.


Why is it Important to Spot an AI-generated Image?

AI is creating super realistic images, blurring the lines between fantasy and reality. But hold on, there’s a reason to learn how to spot an AI-generated image. Here’s why recognizing AI-crafted pictures is important:

  • Truth or fiction? Spot the fakes! Artificial Intelligence can create mind-blowing images, but they might be too good to be true. Spotting AI-generated pictures helps you become a digital detective, uncovering hidden mistakes or unrealistic details.
  • Beware the bias bubble! AI learns from what it sees, and sometimes that can be biased. Identifying AI-made images helps you stay alert for prejudice sneaking into the picture.
  • Who owns this masterpiece? AI can get a little creative by borrowing from existing works. Knowing if an image is AI-generated helps you understand copyright and give credit where credit is due.
  • Seeing is believing, but is it? Real or not, understanding an image’s origin helps you judge the information it shows. This is crucial for trusting news or scientific discoveries.

Pop Quiz – Do You Know How to Spot AI-Generated Images Yet?

Test your knowledge and skills in identifying AI-generated images with this quick pop quiz!

1. Wildlife and Nature: Cats


AI-generated images often have intense colors and flawless hair, which can reveal their artificial nature. However, this is not always the case, as real cats have rough, uneven patterns.


2. People: Teachers & Students


AI technology is improving but still struggles with realistic depictions of people, often missing details like arms, fingers, and toes.


What are the Limitations that May Arise in Spotting AI-generated Images?

AI is getting really good at creating images, so good that it’s becoming a challenge to tell what’s real and what’s AI-generated. Here’s why learning how to spot an AI-generated image might get tricky for marketers in the future:

  • AI keeps getting smarter: As AI image detection techniques advance, they become increasingly sophisticated. The subtle giveaways that were once easy to spot might become undetectable to the untrained eye.
  • Mixing real and AI: Techniques are emerging that combine real photos with AI elements, making it even harder to distinguish a fully fabricated image.
  • Limited tools for detection: While there are tools being developed to identify AI-generated images, they’re not foolproof and may not be readily available to everyone.

How Might the Ability to Spot AI-Generated Images Evolve in the Future?

Here are some ways the ability to spot AI-generated images might evolve in the future:

  • Advanced Detection Tools: Machine learning algorithms might be developed to specifically identify AI-generated content, analyzing patterns beyond human capabilities.
  • Focus on Subtleties: As AI technology improves, human detection will likely shift to even more nuanced details, like minute inconsistencies in lighting, texture, or perspective.
  • Training Data Transparency: A push for transparency in AI training data could highlight potential biases, allowing for a more informed approach to identifying AI-generated content.
  • Collaborative Efforts: Researchers and developers might collaborate on creating standardized tests and benchmarks to objectively evaluate the “AI-ness” of an image.
  • Evolving Techniques: As AI image generation techniques become more sophisticated, so too will the methods for spotting them. We might see a constant arms race between creators and detectors.

Are There Tools Available to Aid in Spotting AI-Generated Images?

Wondering if that amazing image online might be computer-generated? Fear not, there are some of the best AI image detectors available to aid users! Here are a few options you can use while learning how to spot an AI-generated image

AI or Not: This user-friendly service lets you upload an image or provide a URL. It then analyzes the image and delivers a verdict: AI-generated or human-made. In my test with an AI-created picture of a man, AI or Not delivered a clear “AI” verdict.


Hive AI-Generated Content Detection: Offered by Hive Moderation, this tool allows you to upload or drag and drop an image for analysis. When I tested it with the picture of a girl, Hive assigned a score of 99.9% likely AI-generated, giving a strong indication of its artificial origin.


Get More Inspiration: Explore these How-to Guides Too:

For additional inspiration and practical advice, explore our how-to guides below:


Google is enhancing its ability to identify AI-generated images using advanced algorithms, but detection isn’t always perfect.

AI-generated images are derivative, combining elements from training data, and thus cannot be considered completely original.

AI can generate a wide variety of images, from realistic portraits to fantastical scenes, depending on its training.

The legal use of AI-generated images depends on the image’s content, intended use, and copyright laws of your jurisdiction.

Wrap Up

Artificial intelligence can now create incredibly realistic images, making it tough to tell what’s real and what’s not. But fear not, because you have not learned how to spot an AI-generated image and the ways to be an image detective!

With a little practice, you’ll be a pro at spotting AI creations and separating fact from digital fiction! Want to learn more AI terms? Have a quick look at our AI glossary.

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Dave Andre


Digital marketing enthusiast by day, nature wanderer by dusk. Dave Andre blends two decades of AI and SaaS expertise into impactful strategies for SMEs. His weekends? Lost in books on tech trends and rejuvenating on scenic trails.

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