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Will Artificial Intelligence Replace Photographers?

You know those “Would you date the opposite sex version of yourself?” posts you have probably been seeing on social media recently? You may be wondering to yourself, “How do they create that photo?”

Well, artificial intelligence, or A.I., is most likely the answer.

Let’s take a look at these three fairly ordinary looking people…

fake portraits created via artificial intelligence

Oh wait, they’re not actually real people! That’s right! Those are not real people! They are generated by artificial intelligence software.

NVIDIA researchers are using a generative adversarial network or GAN to create faces that don’t actually exist. You can read the most recent paper they published on the topic if you want.

This isn’t new technology. In fact, they first created the network in 2014. These were the sort of results they got back then…

2014 AI generated portraits

And this is how far they’ve come in 4 years…

fake faces generated by AI

Scared yet? It gets worse…

How do they do it? Well they ‘transfer’ one style of face onto another. The grid below shows how it works:

how artificial intelligence creates new portraits

Or you can watch this video on how the process works:

Starting to see how they came up with the opposite sex version of you?

But, hold on, it’s not limited to people! Oh, no…there’s more!

fake cars created by artificial intelligence

There are fake cars…

AI generated cats

Even fake cats!!! IS NOTHING SACRED?!?

While CGI is frightening enough…heck, in 2014 75% of the images in the IKEA catalog were CGI. You didn’t think they actually built all of those beautifully clean rooms, did you?

In 2017, Peter Cushing was brought back from the dead to appear in Rogue One

There are even CGI fashion models. Yes, they exist.

But this isn’t a group of people working to meticulously create a computer generated image. This is a computer learning to create something new, and believable, on its own…

Ever look at real estate listings?

rooms generated by artificial intelligence

Think about the implications…

Soon…my guess is probably another five years, the technology will most likely exist to create entirely AI created scenes with people, and cars, and cats…

Combine this technology with some rudimentary interface where you can place objects within the scene, and who knows what is going to happen?

The impact of this technology will be felt in many photographic industries as soon as the cost becomes less expensive than hiring a photographer. I mean, why pay someone to ‘create’ an image when you can create something believable (and that’s the biggest part) and have more control?

Oh, and I wonder…when you use that ‘would you date the opposite sex version of yourself?’ app or whatever it is…do you give them permission to add your photo to their database of faces?

Food for thought…

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The Nerdy Photographer
The Nerdy Photographer

With more than a quarter century as a professional photographer, The Nerdy Photographer's goal is to spread knowledge and laughter throughout the photo industry. Please follow along on social media and subscribe to the podcast.

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