Don’t Be Fooled by A.I. Katy Perry Didn’t Attend the Met.

On Monday night, a gaggle of celebrities attended the annual Met Gala. As they entered, throngs of photographers and reporters captured the arrival and ascent of guests up the Met’s famed stairs. Bad Bunny! Chris Hemsworth! J-Lo! Zendaya! Zendaya, again, but in a different dress!

Notably not among them was the singer Katy Perry.

The issue wasn’t that Ms. Perry was rumored to be attending and ultimately did not. (Looking at you here, Rihanna.) Rather, her absence was notable because A.I.-generated photos of the “Teenage Dream” singer posing on the Met steps are now circulating online and many people are falling for them. Including Ms. Perry’s own mother, Mary Hudson.

On Instagram, Ms. Perry shared two images of an A.I. rendering of her “attending” the Met. In the first, she wears a cream-colored floor length ball gown trimmed in moss at the hem. Perfect for the evening’s dress code. Guests were instructed to dress according to a “Garden of Time” theme, an allusion to a 1962 J.G. Ballard short story.

The image is a decent, if imperfect, rendering of Ms. Perry, but the real problem with this image is the carpet. This year’s event carpet was green and flanked by real plants and white flowers. In this image, the carpet is the wrong color and there are no flowers.

Another photo shared by Ms. Perry shows her wearing a corset-style top with a dramatic key bisecting her chest and a short skirt made of flowing greenery. Here, the carpet is the correct color and Ms. Perry’s face looks quite believable. (The image has none of the telltale hallmarks of an A.I.-generated image, like, say, too many or too few fingers.)

Ms. Perry also shared a screenshot of a text exchange with her mother, who complimented her daughter’s “gorgeous gown,” likening it to a float at the Rose Parade. “Mom, the A.I. got you too, beware,” Ms. Perry wrote in a response.

A.I. photos of celebrities fooling viewers has become a growing issue with the spread of new technology that makes it easier than ever to generate an image. In 2023, an A.I.-generated image of Pope Francis wearing a long, white puffer jacket, inspired by Balenciaga, went viral. The photo of the octogenarian was fake but that didn’t stop it from spreading.

“You lull people into not double checking,” said Subbarao Kambhampati, a computer science professor at Arizona State University told The New York Times. “Then you are shifted little by little from reality.”

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