AI-Generated Art Could Contain Subliminal Messaging: Can You Spot It?

AI-Generated Art Could Contain Subliminal Messaging: Can You Spot It?


  • Generative artificial intelligence is quietly bringing back the art of illusion drawing in images.
  • There is a new growing trend online where people are able to create images with hidden messages and even pictures.
  • While it all seems fun, this new-found creativity could also be used by bad actors for harmful purposes.

The years-long art of mind-twisting optical illusion used in paintings is quietly being revived in our time by artificial intelligence image generators. While many find it fascinating, some also worry about the potential for humans to leverage these tools to manipulate others.

AI is Reviving Illusion Drawing

The boom of AI image generators has spurred a new trend online where people are able to generate images with subliminal messages that often take extra effort to decipher – either by squinting their eyes or holding their phones away. The trend seems fun and fascinating as it tricks the brain into perceiving things differently than they actually are.

Many people have been pushing the limit with it, from creating QR codes with hidden pictures to sneaking in secret messages in realistic images. In one instance, a Redditor generated a “subliminal advertisement” image of people walking on a rainy street with the letters of the word “OBEY” spelt out by their dark clothing.

There are several other similar images created with AI image generators on Twitter with different words. Below is another example with the word “HOSPITALITY” hidden in it. 

Some Concerns With AI Illusion Images

Optical illusion images or drawings are always a reminder that the things we see are not always as they seem. Interestingly, the whole trend shows how creative generative AI has/will become.  But while this new-found creativity can be leveraged in a meaningful way, it also can be used for harmful and deceptive purposes by bad actors. 

Just like deepfakes, some of the images can be misleading, as in the case of the viral image of a refuse dump in the streets of Paris, France. AI-generated optical illusions can also be so convincing that they can actually trick people into thinking they are seeing something that is not really there.

There’s no question that AI image generators are advantageous and useful for many creative business owners and the general public to design images. However, there need to be some regulations to check against illicit use.

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Ibiam Wayas

Written by Ibiam Wayas

Ibiam is an optimistic crypto journalist. Five years from now, he sees himself establishing a unique crypto media outlet that will breach the gap between the crypto world and the general public. He loves to associate with like-minded individuals and collaborate with them on similar projects. He spends much of his time honing his writing and critical thinking skills.