Check out these rather ordinary looking portraits. They’re all fake. Not in the sense that they were Photoshopped, but rather they were completely generated by artificial intelligence. That’s right: none of these people actually exist.
NVIDIA researchers have published a new paper on easily customizing the style of realistic faces created by a generative adversarial network (GAN).
The Verge points out that GAN has only existed for about four years. In 2014, a landmark paper introduced the concept, and this is what the AI-generated results looked like at the time:
In less than half a decade, the realism has improved to the point where most people might not be able to tell the portraits are fake, even when examining them up close.
NVIDIA researchers are now able to copy the “styles” of source faces onto destination faces, creating blends that have copied features but which look like entirely new people:
To create these latest faces, NVIDIA researchers trained the AI for a whole week using 8 powerful GPUs. Here’s a 6-minute video about this latest progress:
Here’s a collage of fake faces created by the AI:
This technology seems to have the potential to disrupt the world of photography. It’s by no means limited to generating faces — it can also create everything from fake interior real estate photos…
…to fake car photos…
…to fake cat photos…
A march toward artificially generated “photos” has already been taking place for years: back in 2014, 75% of IKEA’s catalog photos were already computer-generated.
It may be a scary thought for stock photographers, but in the future, creating needed “photos” out of thin air may be as simple as typing in a description into an AI-powered desktop app.
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