This company wants to use AI to help you pretend to increase diversity

Generated Photos is the latest stupid startup that sounds like a joke from "Silicon Valley" that someone took too far. From their announcement on Medium:

Generated Photos is the free resource of 100k faces for you to use however you wish. But these aren't just common faces. They were produced completely by artificial intelligence — none of these people are real! Generated photos are created from scratch by AI systems.

In other words, they're Deepfakes for other peoples' ad campaigns.

I've spent enough time around higher ed administration that I've seen firsthand how universities will recruit a perfect United-Colors-Of-Benetton rainbow of students for admissions ads. But this takes that to a whole new level. Why even bother trying to build relationships with non-white-dudes, when you can just generate some friendly colorful faces for promotional use and call it a day?

The company's website brags of "democratizing creative photography and video," which is some impressively nauseating PR speak. In their defense, "We aim to make creative works both more accessible and higher quality through generative processes" sounds a lot better than "Auto-diversify the avatars for your army of Twitter sockpuppets!"

But my favorite part is how openly they acknowledge the poor quality of their images. "A part of the process is training and refining the generative models," the company explains in a Medium post. "The iterations move fast although not everything is perfect yet. So you will also have some fun with the pack of AI-generated photos. When you see a face that is a bit 'off', just give it some slack." And then there's this, from their official FAQ:

Why do some of these faces look strange?
Generating media can definitely come out weird at times! Some faces will have strange 'stuff' in the background, while others just seem slightly off for no apparent reason. For example, we have noted a common issue with something that looks like a crater appearing in random places. Those familiar with generative adversarial networks have likely seen worse. Our whole process is designed to gradually improve the final results and we are far from done yet! We find these stages of growth quite fascinating. Take a look at this early sample to see where we started:

So they're not only making creepy Deepfakes for PR stock photos…they're also admittedly bad at it. But hey, at least they're totally free of copyright, right?

Generated Photos

AI-Generated Faces: Free Resource of 100K Faces Without Copyright [Medium]