Lesswing, LLC

Concerning Digital Assets

Labeling AI-generated Content

The proliferation of AI has the potential to confuse real estate buyers because it is hard to tell real from imaginary images. I have a simple suggestion that although not perfect, begins to address the situation. I stumbled upon an article written in the spring that reminded me of some tagging work I investigated over ten years ago while researching search optimization.

Most digital cameras label pictures with information about settings, features, and sometimes even location. This information is contained in the EXIF section of the image that is not visible. Although not all camera manufacturers use the same fields, some of the popular fields include “Make”, “Model”, “F-number” and “Date and time”.

My proposal is to use the “Make” field to identify AI content with the value “AI-generated”. There are free tools that can be used to tag your content including the EXIFTool program from Phil Harvey which has been active in the industry since 2003. Here is the command that you use to tag the image. I do this on a Mac and I know that the command line is scary, but worth it while our toolsets catch up with the business.

exiftool -make=”AI-generated” mytest.jpeg

The tools you use to create listings, brochures, and other business documents have access to EXIF and can read these settings if they need to. Standards can also be developed using this approach.

The downside of storing information in EXIF is that image manipulation tools that resize and reformat images can remove the tagging information. This procedure is called “stripping the image” and is performed when ownership of the image changes. Once I give someone ownership of the image, they are free to do with it as they like. If you adopt my proposal, at least you provided a “true picture” of what you are presenting; which images are unaltered and which have been enhanced by AI.


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