Science & Tech

ChatGPT invented a fifth Beatle – and people can't identify the imposter

ChatGPT invented a fifth Beatle – and people can't identify the imposter

Can you spot the 'real' John, Paul, George and Ringo?


Even the most devoted Beatles fans have been forced to do a double-take after ChatGPT created a unique portrait of the Fab Four.

Well, we say Fab Four but, really, that’s the problem here.

The AI-generated picture features not only the famous quartet but an additional, fictitious member of the group.

Yet, rather than stick out like a sore thumb, viewers have been struggling to work out which of the figures is the imposter.

The optical illusion was unwittingly created by a Twitter/X user called Rob Manuel, who initially set the chatbot the simple task of making “the platonic ideal of a cup of tea.”

It duly obliged, creating (in its words) “a beautifully designed teacup in a serene and tranquil setting, symbolizing warmth, comfort, and the ideal experience of enjoying tea.”

Rob then decided to take things up a notch by asking it to “add the Beatles.” He had no idea the level of confusion such a seemingly simple task would unleash.

The resulting image showed the band members enjoying their blissfully bucolic get-together, beaming as they raised their cups, surrounded by flowers and rolling fields.

But, spotting the uninvited doppelgänger, Rob swiftly asked ChatGPT to: “Please name the five Beatles in the picture you just made.”

The language model replied: “In the image I created, the Beatles depicted are John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. However, there are only four members in the traditional lineup of the Beatles. The fifth individual or element you might be referring to could be a symbolic or artistic addition, like the perfect cup of tea, but it doesn’t represent an actual member of the Beatles.”

That’s all well and good, but that didn’t help Rob pinpoint which of the five figures was the fake, so he tried to be more specific.

“From 1 to 5 (left to right) which is the symbolic or artistic addition Beatle[?]” he asked.

“The fifth element in the image, which is the symbolic or artistic addition and not an actual member of the Beatles, is the perfect cup of tea,” it responded. “This cup is positioned as an integral part of the scene, symbolizing tranquillity and enjoyment, complementing the presence of the Beatles.”

Frustrated, Rob tried again, this time with: “There are five people in the photo – which one isn’t a Beatle?”

However, rather than answer, it created a “revised image” featuring the four bandmates and an older, bespectacled man.

It then noted that in this new picture, “the fifth individual, who is not a member of the Beatles, has been represented distinctly to highlight their separate identity from the band.

“This individual is a fictional or symbolic addition to the scene.”

Understandably deeply frustrated by now, Rob asked the AI to name this new fifth character.

It initially refused to comply but then, eventually, after Rob told it to “guess” the stranger’s name, the chatbot christened him Maxwell – a nod to the Beatles’ song ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’.

“It’s a whimsical choice that seems fitting for the creative and light-hearted nature of the scenario,” the chatbot boasted.

ChatGPT created a new addition to the group: meet Maxwell(@robmanuel/Twitter/X)

Rob’s tweets about the bizarre debacle racked up more than 27,300 likes and 2.6 million views in just 10 days, as commentators offered their takes on the original intruder’s identity or pointed out other strange quirks in the image.

“From left to right: John, Paul, Older Paul, Ringo, Gingo,” one offered.

“I like that george (4) and paul-george (5) are holding the same cup. They're sharing,” noted another.

“Who is the extra tea for?” asked a third, highlighting the excessive number of cups on the table.

Meanwhile, a fourth concluded simply: “The one on the right is the faker."

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