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September 26th, 2019 at 1:31 pm

100,000 free AI-generated headshots put stock photo companies on notice

For all your royalty-free photo needs

It’s getting easier and easier to use AI to generate convincing-looking, yet entirely fake, pictures of people. Now, one company wants to find a use for these photos, by offering a resource of 100,000 AI-generated faces to anyone that can use them — royalty free. Many of the images look fake but others are difficult to distinguish from images licensed by stock photo companies.

The project’s Product Hunt page lists the team at Icons8, a designer marketplace for icons and photographs, as the creator of the project. The AI-produced images are intended to be used as design elements in anything from presentations to websites and mobile apps. Everything is free to use with link attribution back to generated.photos.

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Over the course of the year, we’ve seen a number of AI projects generate fake AI faces, most notably ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com, a website capable of producing an infinite series of mostly-believable headshots. The faces found on generated.photos cover a variety of ages, shapes, and ethnicities, and they’re all consistently lit and consistently sized to make them useful for designers.

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The project is currently in its early stages, and Icons8 product designer Konstantin Zhabinskiy notes that some of the faces might look a bit “off.” You can see some examples of this in the images above where the AI has produced a mangled hand and background in one image, and given another fake model a wound to their forehead. However, the team’s hope is to eventually produce a simple API that can easily generate new photographs based on a variety of inputs, allowing designers to quickly produce photorealistic images to illustrate their work without having to worry about copyright or model releases.

Zhabinskiy is keen to emphasize that the AI used to generate these images was trained using data shot in-house, rather than using stock media or scraping photographs from the internet. “Such an approach requires thousands of hours of labor, but in the end, it will certainly be worth it!” exclaims an Icons8 blog post. Ivan Braun, the founder of Icons8, says that in total the team took 29,000 pictures of 69 models over the course of three years which it used to train its algorithm.

There are valid concerns about technology that’s able to generate convincing-looking fakes like these at scale. This project is trying to create images that make life easier for designers, but the software could one day be used for all sorts of malicious activity.

Update September 20th, 1:00PM ET: Updated with additional details from Icons8 founder Ivan Braun about the amount of photos used to train the algorithm.

Via The Verge

 

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