How a real photo won an AI contest

+ AI in news - the big trends to know

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US President John Adams had a pet alligator, gifted by a French general, which lived in the White House bathroom.

What’s in store:

  • Someone submitted a real photo to an AI photo contest - can you tell?

  • People are still concerned about AI news.

  • Around the web: Apple aims for thinner devices with upcoming "iPhone 17 Slim," MacBook Pro, and Apple Watch.

  • We’ve got a free ebook from HubSpot for you!

Read Time: 6 minutes


A photographer’s shot of a headless flamingo, which won an AI-generated image competition, has been disqualified because…

It was a real image.

Miles Astray, 38, entered his surreal image, “Flamingone”, into the prestigious 1839 Awards.

The (real) image in question.

The competition judges, impressed by the unusual sight of pink feathers on spindly legs, believed it was created using AI-based photo editing software.

The image subsequently placed third in the AI category and won the public vote.

Astray took the photo in Aruba, capturing the precise moment a flamingo’s head was hidden while scratching its belly.

He entered it into the AI category to demonstrate that human-made content still holds relevance and can surpass AI-created images.

He aimed to highlight that creativity and emotion are more than just digital constructs.

Here’s what you should know:

  • Genuine photo of a headless flamingo mistaken for AI creation wins competition.

  • Miles Astray used the image to highlight the relevance of human creativity.

  • The incident will prompt discussions on the ethical implications of AI in photography.

We thought we should try and recreate his image using AI, so we had a go on Midjourney. Here’s our best effort:

This one is AI, made by us.

Nature wins over AI

Despite ethical concerns, Astray wanted to challenge the growing use of AI in photo manipulation showing that reality can indeed be stranger than fiction.

His intent was to provoke a discussion on the ethical implications of AI in photography.

Lily Fierman, director of the contest organisers Creative Resource Collective, stated there were no hard feelings, and that the incident would spark important discussions on AI use.

I think we should have won the competition, personally.

Which image do you prefer?

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On This Day

June 18th 1928 - Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean as a passenger alongside pilots Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon. This achievement significantly advances women's role in aviation.

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Global worries about AI in news production are growing, presenting new challenges for newsrooms.

According to the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, many people are sceptical about AI-generated news, especially on sensitive topics like politics.

Newsrooms worldwide are grappling with the rise of generative AI, as tech giants like Google and startups like OpenAI develop tools that summarise information and divert traffic from news websites.

Despite AI’s potential to make journalists' work more efficient, consumers remain wary of AI's role in creating news content.

Key findings from the report, based on surveys of nearly 100,000 people across 47 countries, include:

  • 52% of U.S. respondents and 63% of UK respondents are uncomfortable with news produced mainly by AI.

  • Concerns about online false news content have increased, with 59% of respondents expressing worry.

  • A significant portion of news subscribers, especially in the U.S., pay discounted rates for their subscriptions.

"It was surprising to see the level of suspicion," said Nic Newman, senior research associate at the Reuters Institute.

Another challenge facing news organisations is the general unwillingness of audiences to pay for news subscriptions.

Despite a slight increase during the pandemic, just 17% of respondents across 20 countries pay for online news, a figure unchanged for the past three years.

A significant proportion of news subscribers in the U.S. are also likely paying discounted rates due to trials or promotions, with 46% paying less than full price for their subscriptions.

The rise of news influencers

News influencers on platforms like TikTok are becoming more influential than traditional media.

In a survey of over 5,600 TikTok users, 57% said they follow individual personalities for news, compared to 34% who follow journalists or news brands.

The report surveyed people in the U.S., UK, France, Argentina, and Brazil, asking them to name up to three mainstream or alternative accounts they follow for the news.

In the U.S., the top personalities were mostly known for political commentary rather than original newsgathering, including Tucker Carlson, Joe Rogan, and David Pakman.

The report underscores the need for news organisations to adapt and find new ways to connect with their audiences amidst these challenges.

Next year, we want someone to mention Mindsteam, please.

Mindstream Picks

Seattle-based Galvanic Games shut down due to insufficient sales of Wizard with a Gun, announced founder Patrick Morgan.

Researchers identified seven stars that might be surrounded by advanced alien megastructures called "Dyson spheres."

ZK Nation announced that eligible users can claim their ZK token airdrops on June 17, with the token listed on major exchanges and used for zkSync governance and network fees.

Stock futures were little changed Monday morning; Dow futures dipped 0.2%, S&P 500 futures slipped 0.1%, and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.1%, as traders start a holiday-shortened week.

Don’t Miss - Apple is reportedly focusing on making its devices thinner, starting with the OLED iPad Pro and aiming for a "significantly skinnier" iPhone 17, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. This renewed pursuit of thinness also includes plans to slim down the MacBook Pro and Apple Watch, balancing aesthetics with performance.

AI Art

Our Image of the Day

Artwork submitted by Mindstream reader Laëtitia C: “The Statue of Liberty on the moon”

Daily Image Prompt

Ha Long Bay in the moonlight

Yesterday’s Poll

“Is AI the future of video production, or just a passing fad?”

Absolutely, it’s the future! - 79%

Just a temporary gimmick - 21%

Your Views:

“For good or worse, image, video creation, and editing through AI tools are a solid trend.” - jcperez

“I’m waiting for the first 100% AI generated movies to come out; that would be so awesome!” - philip.yong

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