While picture editors have tweaked images for decades, modern tools like Adobe Photoshop let them alter photos to the point of complete fabrication. Think of sharks swimming in the streets of New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy, or someone flying a "where's my damn dinner?" banner over a women's march. Those images were fake, but clever manipulation can trick news outlets and social media users into thinking they're real. By the time we figure out that they're phony, bombastic pictures can go viral and it's nearly impossible to let everyone know the image they shared is a sham.
Adobe, certainly aware of how complicit its software is in the creation of fake news images, is working on artificial intelligence that can spot the markers of phony photos. In other words, the maker of Photoshop is tapping into machine learning to find out if someone has Photoshopped an image.
Using AI to find fake images is a way for Adobe to help "increase trust and authenticity in digital media," the company says. That brings it in line with the likes of Facebook and Google, which have stepped up their efforts to fight fake news.