drip pope paradox


Part I

Balenciaga pope image was one of the first AI generated images that the mass population probably fell for. Compared to other fakes, there's a few factors that make it stand out:

  1. The world would not crash and burn if the pope didn't wear balenciaga
  2. The pope has a history of drip, and younger generations enjoy seeing the irony
  3. Gen AI has gotten good enough

And so for the first time, believing that an AI generated image was real became more convenient than the alternative.

Part II

The internet, for most of it's lifetime, has produced replicated content. Text is written by human hands. Art are created by human artists. Games written by human developers. These objects originate from a physical world and propagate through the web as simple replications.

In this vein, it is easy to determine the definition of a "fake." It is content that does not originate from the physical real. "Fake" news, Deep"fakes," "fake" accounts. The audience deems them so because they don't correspond to physical world events.

But when the internet got its first wave of generated content, we were at a lost. Determining the "real" was no longer a simple cross check with physical world events. But if we can't tell what's "real", then how on earth can we tell what's "fake"?

Faced with this horror it is reasonable to establish an existence of multiple "truths." Events that happen in the physical and digital reals are equally legitimate and canonical events in their respective worlds. From here on out, our shared human experience starts to fork into two.

Part III

It is unclear when the unmooring began. In fact, it is impossible to do so. For once we determine a possible divergence point, it self-destructs into a singular truth. Had we not discovered that the balenciaga pope was generated and labelled it fake, it would have remained "truth" in the digital real. But the harm has been done, and it now remains flattened as a one-dimensional fact.

And here lies the heart of the paradox. We don't know, and we can't know. The split may have never happened. Likewise, it could have occurred 3 years ago. And as soon as we try to look, all paths start merging back to rome.

Try not to think about it too much :)


  1. This article was generated by ChatGPT 4 Turbo