There are now businesses that sell fake people. On the website Generated.Photos, you can buy a “unique, worry-free” fake person for $2.99, or 1,000 people for $1,000. If you just need a couple of fake people — for characters in a video game, or to make your company website appear more diverse — you can get their photos for free on ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com. Adjust their likeness as needed; make them old or young or the ethnicity of your choosing. If you want your fake person animated, a company called Rosebud.AI can do that and can even make them talk.
These simulated people are starting to show up around the internet, used as masks by real people with nefarious intent: spies who don an attractive face in an effort to infiltrate the intelligence community; Dating site users with ill intent and fake social media profiles
We created our own A.I. system to understand how easy it is to generate different fake faces.
The A.I. system sees each face as a complex mathematical figure, a range of values that can be shifted. Choosing different values — like those that determine the size and shape of eyes — can alter the whole image.AgeEyesPerspectiveMood
The creation of these types of fake images only became possible in recent years thanks to a new type of artificial intelligence called a generative adversarial network. In essence, you feed a computer program a bunch of photos of real people. It studies them and tries to come up with its own photos of people, while another part of the system tries to detect which of those photos are fake.
The back-and-forth makes the end product ever more indistinguishable from the real thing. The portraits in this story were created by The Times using GAN software that was made publicly available by the computer graphics company Nvidia.
Given the pace of improvement, it’s easy to imagine a not-so-distant future in which we are confronted with not just single portraits of fake people but whole collections of them — at a party with fake friends, hanging out with their fake dogs, holding their fake babies. It will become increasingly difficult to tell who is real online and who is a figment of a computer’s imagination.
technology can evolve. Detection will only get harder over time.”
Advances in facial fakery have been made possible in part because technology has become so much better at identifying key facial features. You can use your face to unlock your smartphone, or tell your photo software to sort through your thousands of pictures and show you only those of your child. Facial recognition programs are used by law enforcement to identify and arrest criminal suspects (and also by some activists to reveal the identities of police officers who cover their name tags in an attempt to remain anonymous). A company called Clearview AI scraped the web of billions of public photos — casually shared online by everyday users — to create an app capable of recognizing a stranger from just one photo. The technology promises superpowers: the ability to organize and process the world in a way that wasn’t possible before.
Edited by Level21