AI Tools Used to Create Image of Fictional Underground City Beneath US Congress

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Photo: Wiki person that edits, Wikipedia

Beneath the Capitol, the home of the US Congress in Washington, lies a Visitor Center, rather than the multi-level underground city portrayed in the AI-generated image.



On March 11, 2024, a photo was published on Facebook allegedly showing an underground city beneath the building of the US Congress.

Comments from Facebook users suggest that they believed in the authenticity of the photo.

The post garnered over 320 interactions, including 98 shares on Facebook.

“Blurring the Lines Between Reality and Imagination”

The Capitol is a building in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, where the federal legislative institutions—the House of Representatives and the Senate of the US Congress—are located. The photo of the “underworld” beneath the Capitol building being shared on Facebook is not real and was created using artificial intelligence.

There are several indicators that this is an artificially created image, but the primary clue is found in its lower left corner. It is a signature of authorship, which belongs to the page Syntography Art.

The Syntography Art page clearly states that it features images created using advanced artificial intelligence tools. The genre of “AI art” is also explained, where artists use “advanced digital tools, artificial intelligence, and computer algorithms to create visually stunning compositions that blur the line between reality and imagination.”

The image of the Capitol building’s “underworld” was posted on the page’s Instagram and Facebook profiles on March 9, 2024.

Furthermore, the setting in the photograph, which is practically undeveloped, indicates that it is not a realistic depiction of Capitol Hill, the part of Washington where the Capitol building and other important government institutions are located. The elongated lake that extends to the left behind the building in the photograph is not actually located next to the Capitol. Between the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and the Congress building lies the grassy area of the National Mall, which is bordered by museum buildings in the “Smithsonian Institution” complex.

Photo: Aerial view of the Capitol Hill in 1980/Source: Highsmith, Carol M, Picryl 

What Lies Beneath the Capitol?

Beneath the Capitol building lies a tunnel system, connected by railway to nearby government buildings. Initially excavated for the building’s cooling system, this network expanded to include tunnels for rapid book transfers, vehicle access, garbage removal, parking garages, and the subway system.

During the 2000s, the Capitol Visitor Center was constructed in the subterranean area on the east side of the Capitol building. The Center’s rooms are buried underground, spanning three levels (floors). In reality, the excavations for the Center’s construction were significantly less spectacular than the “underground city” depicted in the AI image.

Image: View of the work on the east side of the Capitol building during the construction of the Visitor Center in 2004/Source:

However, these facts have been used as “evidence” by supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory to claim that beneath Capitol Hill lies a child farm for the production of the drug adrenochrome. The existence of underground tunnels used for child abuse and pedophilia represents one of the core themes of this conspiracy theory, which we Raskrinkavanje has written about on several occasions (1234).

Based on the above, we assess the Facebook post of the “underground city” photo beneath the Capitol as fake news.

(Author: Amar Karađuz,