These People Are Not Real—They Were Created By AI

Machine learning algorithms are getting scary-good at creating fake images that look real.

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Dec 14 2018, 4:39pm

Screengrab: arXiv

Computers are getting better at generating fake images and video of people saying or doing things they never did in real life. The latest work from chip maker Nvidia takes this a step further by generating convincing-looking images of people who never existed in the first place—they’re AI creations, but they look incredibly real.

Machine-learning enthusiasts have been freaking out about the results of Nvidia’s latest work—published to the arXiv preprint server this week—and for good reason. Not only do the images produced by the AI program look crystal clear and hyper-realistic, but the process for creating them was rather novel and opens up some mind-blowing possibilities.

The researchers combined the typical design of Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs)—computing architecture that very loosely mimics the human brain and “learns” from source images to generate new ones—with tips from the world of AI style transfer. In doing this, the Nvidia researchers could effectively blend human features to generate faces that morph in surprising and impressive ways.

While this no doubt raises the specter of rampant AI-generated images fooling us into thinking they’re real, it’s worth noting that pulling this off took a week of AI training on eight Nvidia Tesla graphics processors that cost thousands of dollars each—not something you find in your average gaming rig.

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