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Netflix true crime documentary may have used AI-generated images of a real person

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Netflix has been accused of using AI-manipulated imagery in the true crime documentary What Jennifer Did, Futurism has reported. Several photos show typical signs of AI trickery, including mangled hands, strange artifacts and more. If accurate, the report raises serious questions about the use of such images in documentaries, particularly since the person depicted is currently in prison awaiting retrial.

In one egregious image, the left hand of the documentary’s subject Jennifer Pan is particularly mangled, while another image shows a strange gap in her cheek. Netflix has yet to acknowledge the report, but the images show clear signs of manipulation and were never labeled as AI-generated.

Netflix true crime documentary may have used AI-generated images of a real person

Netflix

The AI may be generating the imagery based on real photos of Pan, as PetaPixel suggested. However, the resulting output may be interpreted as being prejudicial instead of presenting the facts of the case without bias.

A Canadian court of appeal ordered Pan’s retrial because the trial judge didn’t present the jury with enough options, the CBC reported.

One critic, journalist Karen K. HO, said that the Netflix documentary is an example of the “true crime industrial complex” catering to an “all-consuming and endless” appetite for violent content. Netflix’s potential use of AI manipulated imagery as a storytelling tool may reinforce that argument.

Regulators in the US, Europe and elsewhere have enacted laws on the use of AI, but so far there appears to be no specific laws governing the use of AI images or video in documentaries or other content.

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