Eagle-eyed fans noticed some strange, prominently displayed band posters in the background of the latest episode of HBO's "True Detective."
"What’s up with these posters?" one Reddit user wrote. "They look like AI."
A closer examination of the two posters immediately raises some red flags, from smeared faces to a ripoff of Metallica's iconic logo, which has seemingly been melted down to form a mutated version of the word "Metal." In the bottom right of the right poster, the nonsensical words "2st live" appear. And the band members look strange and inhuman, almost like a riff on the facepaint of KISS rather than Metallica.
In short, it's not a stretch to conclude the poster was spat out by an AI image generator.
And the poster on the left appears to be showing the real-world South Korean girl group IVE and advertising their 2022 single "Love Dive." But we were unable to locate any promotional materials by the band that looked like the poster shown in "True Detective." (If you're a K-pop fan and you know of this poster, though, please email us at email@example.com to correct the record.)
For reference, here's what a real IVE poster for "Love Dive" looks like:
Viewers were left unimpressed by the apparent inclusion of AI imagery in the show.
"What is going on with the AI-generated posters in True Detective," a user on X-formerly-Twitter wondered. "Moreover, what is going on with this season of 'True Detective.' it certainly isn’t 'good writing.'"
Futurism has reached out to HBO for comment, but didn't receive a response.
"True Detective" showrunner Issa López did weigh in online, saying that that the "story behind that poster is so long, it would require its own season."
"The idea is that it's so sad up there that some kid with AI made the posters for a loser Metal festival for boomers," she added. "It was discussed. Ad nauseam."
The debate surrounding the use of AI in the creative field, particularly when it comes to Hollywood, has been going on for quite some time now, with artists warning the tech could soon undermine their livelihoods.
To thousands employed in the industry, it's no laughing matter. Last year, both the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild went on strike, with generative AI emerging as a key talking point.
The posters in the scene of Season 4 Episode 2, Part 2, of "True Detective" — visible around the 34-minute mark — have proven divisive.
"Why go to the effort of printing out an AI poster and not just an actual poster?" one redditor wrote. "It feels aggressively lazy."
"Production budget can’t afford artists, so they paid a set designer $60 an hour to make AI images and print it off," one redditor speculated.
Besides, are we really supposed to believe that the white, 40-something, blue-collar miner is a huge K-pop fan?
More on generative AI: AI Garbage Is Destroying Google Results