Deep Learning Creates New Faces

Artificial intelligence techniques can now be used to generate very realistic faces that have never been seen.

(AI portrait of someone who never existed)

The approach uses “generative adversarial networks” (GANs) to refine the A.I.’s abilities over time. GANs are neural networks that work in opposition to one another; one GAN draws a picture from scratch (the generative part) and another attempts to tell whether the picture is real or A.I.-generated (the adversarial part). The GANs will eventually trend toward better and better looking portraits, as one learns to trick its adversary network into misidentifying its creations as real.

One interesting implication of the fact that this is a generative system is that it can develop its own style. Training GANs with the same dataset but slightly different methods of analysis could lead to noticeably different approaches to the sort of pixel painting it does. Eventually, of course, they should both theoretically converge on photo realism if they keep getting fed more and more real photos, but at least for the time being A.I. brush strokes could be an intriguing trend to watch.

Philip K. Dick would have loved this - he used the idea of artificially generated faces in his 1977 novel A Scanner Darkly:

Basically, his design consisted of a multifaceted quartz lens hooked up to a million and a half physiognomic fraction-representations of various people: men and women, children, with every variant encoded and then projected outward in all directions equally onto a superthin shroudlike membrane large enough to fit around an average human.

As the computer looped through its banks, it projected every conceivable eye color, hair color, shape and type of nose, formation of teeth, configuration of facial bone structure - the entire shroudlike membrane took on whatever physical characteristics were projected at any nanosecond... (Read more about the scramble suit)

This is how a scramble suit looks in the movie version of PKD's novel:

(Keanu Reeves in a scramble suit)

If you like stories tinged with a bit of Philip K. Dick, here are a few hundred Philip K. Dick science fiction in the news stories.

Via Inverse.

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