AI and Stock Photography

Google’s algorithms provide me with the world’s knowledge at the click of a mouse. Facebook filters my friends’ feeds and decides what to show me. This is artificial intelligence at work and it is only getting more powerful.

Even stock photography has moved into AI. For example, none of the people above are real. These photos were created from scratch by AI systems at Generated.Photos. One can choose a subject by gender, race, age, hair color, eye color, and even emotion. Images are free to download and use personally, with higher quality images and commercial use licenses available for individual downloads. An added plus—images can be used for any purpose without worrying about copyrights, distribution rights, infringement claims, or royalties.

In a recent New York Times article Designed to Deceive: Do These People Look Real to You? Kashmir Hill and Jeremy White created their own AI system to understand how to generate fake faces. This is possible due to a new type of artificial intelligence called a generative adversarial network, where a computer program is fed photos of real people, which studies them and tries to come up with its own photos of people, while the system also tries to detect which of those photos are fake.

It is fascinating and rather terrifying. As they wrote: “Given the pace of improvement, it’s easy to imagine a not-so-distant future in which we are confronted with not just single portraits of fake people but whole collections of them — at a party with fake friends, hanging out with their fake dogs, holding their fake babies. It will become increasingly difficult to tell who is real online and who is a figment of a computer’s imagination.” While AI-generated stock photography may benefit designers, it is a dream come true for propagandists, online harassers, and trolls.

Taylor Design Blog

By Dan

President / Creative Director