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  • Writer's picturekilncreations

Willy Wonka, What even is a scam?, and AI. Pt 1

By now we have all seen the pictures of the Willy Wonka "Experience" "Show" put on by House of Illuminati in Glasgow.

If you missed it, lemme clue you in. The synopsis of this story is that a production company was touting an immersive art and theater experience where families would walk through a living art exhibit and feel like they were transported to Roald Dahl's fantasy chocolate Factory.

Fans were so disappointed from the $44 per person exhibit that they called police demanding it be shut down and everyone be refunded.

The whole episode calls to question a few things in my mind:

  1. How is AI affecting our perception of the world?

    1. How to spot AI artwork

    2. How AI works to benefit scammers

  2. What is a scam?

    1. When is a scam bad enough to call the police?

    2. How do I protect myself from a scam?

I am not an expert on any of the things involved in the piece, I'm just a regular mom and studio owner. I use AI infrequently to help me achieve a different style of writing- these days, I often have a hard time writing anything other than casual prose, so the MagicWrite in Canva is helpful to make something more professional. Sometimes we use AI to add things to pictures, for example, in this picture I took a clip from Once Upon A Princess' Alice image, added a row of roses, and AI changed one rose to white, so we could emulate "painting the roses red."

Can the average person tell when I personally using AI in an ad or picture? I'm not sure.

The roses are not perfectly matched. I even used ANOTHER red rose to the left to cover a part of Alice I accidentally cut off. The light falls differently on each one.

Do I think that this is an ethical example of how to use AI? I do. No part of my event depends on or promises roses of any kind. We aren't even painting them. The tagline is just for fun, the roses are an accessory to enhance the picture, that's all. But the Alice? She's a real human who did a real photo shoot in a real costume (I mean, please don't tell the kids she isn't THE Alice, but like this is as good as it gets).

The scary part about AI art and writing is that for someone who knows how to manipulate it, you can create a whole fake world that is impossible to achieve with gravity, regular lights, and flawed humans. You can pitch an event that is entirely conceptualized, sell $44 tickets, and then show people an empty show room with a rainbow felt project.

But every day, my newsfeed is filled with images like this. A sweet old man, a child of color, an impossible beautiful woman. They are all asking you for likes, follows, and friendship. And you might think this 3-armed man, with his 15 fingers isn't a big deal.

The big deal is that art that he's holding. the big deal is why scammers made the art in the first place.

This particular art isn't so outrageous. I think a real Human could create that. The problem comes in when the caption says "This is my first painting how did I do?" It sets unrealistic expectations for real artists and people who just want to try art. It also provokes a dystopian sadness to think that instead of using our time to make art, and using machines to do the work, we're using machines to make the art and then scamming people out of the money they worked for.

Scammers can and will use these pictures to catfish you, scam you out of real money, and scam you out of time and attention. Start being more critical of images on the internet from pages you don't know. Be critical of advertisements from foreign companies like Temu (who is known for misleading information.) And think, "why does this altered image benefit this person/company?"

As I was writing this, it became a bigger article than I intended. Here's the 3-minute mark. Next blog will address the question of the scams that plague us everyday and how to avoid them.

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