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Check the Claim: Have dragons been successfully cloned in Beijing?

SKILL: Check the Claim

DIFFICULTY: Simple

SUBJECT(S): Science, AI

Students will check this claim using a keyword search to learn that the account who originally posted these images belongs to a visual artist who refers to himself as a “Virtual Reality Sculptor.”

About the Example

A TikTok video captioned “Cloned Dragons in Beijing” depicts various images of colorful dragons and what appears to be a scientific laboratory. This might seem entirely implausible, given that dragons are fictional, but some internet users have been convinced or confused by the photorealistic images. 

To find out the story behind what we’re seeing, we can check the claim using a keyword search. This floats an Instagram post from an account called Hoax Eye that identifies the claim as false and the source as “a Virtual Reality Sculptor and Concept Artist Cabel Adams” and links to the artist’s original TikTok video.



Activities 

  1. Show students the TikTok video and have them summarize the claim.
  2. Have students check the claim using a keyword search. This can be done two ways:
    • Determine key words from the claim (such as “cloned dragons beijing”) and type them into a search engine.
    • Using the Google Chrome browser highlight the caption “Cloned Dragons in Beijing” and select “Search Google for “Cloned Dragons in Beijing.”
  3. Have students click into the tweet from Hoax Eye, which should be the first or second search result. Guiding questions:
    • Is this claim true or false? What did you learn about the source to make your decision?
    • What can visual artists do to prevent spreading mis- and disinformation?
    • Why might an AI or CGI artist want their art to be perceived and shared as real?


Review and Discuss Key Concepts (optional)

Review the concept of Poe’s Law — “An internet adage stating that without a clear statement of the author’s intent, there is no joke, parody, or satire that is self-evidently so. There is no view so extreme that it won’t be mistaken by at least some people as sincere.” Even if something is created as a joke, the internet doesn’t make context clear, and it is always possible for a joke to be taken seriously by others



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