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.