This Website Uses AI Technology to Generate Faces That Aren’t Real

The above photos may look like your average portraits or photo ID pictures, but there's much more than meets the eye. Using new advances in AI developed by researchers at NVIDIA, software engineer Phillip Wang created the website This Person Does Not Exist. That's correct—none of the “people” pictured are real.

Wang, who posted his work in the Artificial Intelligence & Deep Learning Facebook group, created the website to raise awareness about the technology. “Faces are most salient to our cognition, so I've decided to put that specific pre-trained model up,” Wang wrote. “Each time you refresh the site, the network will generate a new facial image from scratch from a 512-dimensional vector.”

The website makes use of StyleGANs, which put artificial images together in a seamless manner. Until recently, the technology was never able to make a high-quality realistic image. All that changed when NVIDIA published their research, which proved that it was possible to build up to a 1024×1024 image. After training the generator, the results are fake photos that look as realistic as any regular snapshot. Clicking your browser's refresh button lets you see an endless sequence of faces, one as computer-generated as the next.

There's no doubt that the use of computer-generated models is growing exponentially. (There's even a CGI model in Japan with a huge Instagram fanbase.) Applications in virtual reality and gaming are ripe with these technological advances, but there are also security concerns that go along with the positives. It's easy to see how, in the hands of the wrong people, these realistic images could be used in hoaxes or to promote fake news.

Learn more about the science behind the website in this article about StyleGANs.

h/t: [Inverse]

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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