Organic or Diffused: Can We Distinguish Human Art from AI-generated Images?

Image credit: Anna Yoo Jeong Ha


The advent of generative AI images has completely disrupted the art world. Distinguishing AI generated images from human art is a challenging problem whose impact is growing over time. A failure to address this problem allows bad actors to defraud individuals paying a premium for human art and companies whose stated policies forbid AI imagery. It is also critical for content owners to establish copyright, and for model trainers interested in curating training data in order to avoid potential model collapse. There are several different approaches to distinguishing human art from AI images, including classifiers trained by supervised learning, research tools targeting diffusion models, and identification by professional artists using their knowledge of artistic techniques. In this paper, we seek to understand how well these approaches can perform against today’s modern generative models in both benign and adversarial settings. We curate real human art across 7 styles, generate matching images from 5 generative models, and apply 8 detectors (5 automated detectors and 3 different human groups including 180 crowdworkers, 4000+ professional artists, and 13 expert artists experienced at detecting AI). Both Hive and expert artists do very well, but make mistakes in different ways (Hive is weaker against adversarial perturbations while Expert artists produce higher false positives). We believe these weaknesses will remain as models continue to evolve, and use our data to demonstrate why a combined team of human and automated detectors provides the best combination of accuracy and robustness.

Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS)
Anna Yoo Jeong Ha
Anna Yoo Jeong Ha
Ph.D. Student in Computer Science

My research interests include adversarial machine learning and security in AI.