Photoshop’s effect on our gullibility

I remember seeing ads for Photoshop in a magazine in the nineties – fantastical photo montages of impossible scenes. Impossible as they were, though, I remember marvelling that I ‘couldn’t see the joins’. And that’s because as a child of the eighties, I was used to photo montage techniques in general being so ropey that unless you suspended your disbelief, it was painfully clear that they were faked.

I mention this because Photoshop (and its users) have become so good since then that today’s teenagers have probably never known a world in which utterly convincing but equally utterly false images can be conjured up with comparatively little effort.

What I can’t work out, though, is if the effect on our gullibility has been a positive one – that is, we’re aware that you can’t trust a single pixel of an image, and so always even just subconsciously question their veracity – or negative, both in that manipulated images are so ubiquitous that we just throw our hands up, and because we’re so ready to believe viral images that spread through social networks.