These people do not exist

^ Do you know these people? (Don’t worry, no one does.)

Maybe they look a bit like people you know. But the truth is…they don’t exist. They’re actually products of artificial intelligence.

Brands and advertisers are using online AI generated media services to design fake people, entirely customised down to their specific gender, age, ethnicity or facial expressions – whatever is needed. Some websites even let you animate them and add voice. Scary. 

Before we get to whether or not this is actually a good idea – let’s look at how and why it’s being done.

How is AI generated media created?

Tens of thousands of photos are taken of models in controlled settings. These photos are then tagged, categorised, and added to a dataset which is fed into generative adversarial networks which then alter, render, and combine their features to make completely new faces.

What is AI generated media being used for and why?

If you’ve ever spent hours trawling through page after page of stock libraries trying to find just the right image of a model with specific characteristics or struggled to find talent to be the face of a product/service that is (ahem) a bit personal or awkward – AI generated media could be for you. 

AI generated media sites were created to be a quick, easy and economic alternative to stock libraries and talent hire, where the images produced can be used for any purpose without worrying about copyrights, distribution rights, infringement claims, or royalties.  

Here are some examples of internal and external uses that brands and advertisers may use AI generated media for:

  • Representing or indicating the demographic of a platform either in website, app or ad designs (i.e. dating sites)
  • Placeholders in concept designs and mockups to give an idea of what a project/product will look like before photography is used.
  • For apps, VR and game designs that include 3D animated characters
  • For avatars (i.e. for chatbots on company websites)

Where can you get AI generated media?

Generated Photos lets you browse and filter through their extensive library of AI generated images with a broad criteria that includes age, gender, race and facial expression. Images are free to download and use for personal use, they just require credit via link attribution. For commercial usage, purchasable licenses are available.

This Person Does Not Exist is a basic website that generates a new fake person every time you refresh the browser. It doesn’t, however, offer any browsing or editing tools.

Rosebud AI offers free-to-download-and-use apps called Tokkingheads and Faceloop. Tokkingheads lets you animate any photo with voice or text, and Faceloop lets you add filters to turn your photos into cartoons or change age, gender, hair or add makeup. Rosebud also offers a subscription to their AI photo editing app that lets you upload and edit your own images to instantly change faces, hair color, age, expressions and more with one click.

^ Images from Rosebud AI

Some important things to consider

We use the word authenticity a lot when creating brands. It’s an important feature for any brand to have because with authenticity comes credibility and trust, and the last thing you want your customers to feel is deceived.

AI generated media should never be used to conduct any sort of illegal activity, such as defamation, impersonation, or fraud, i.e. creating fake testimonials to convince customers to buy your product. It goes without saying (doesn’t it?!).

Despite the sophistication of AI generated media, glitches can still occur, and customers that are paying close attention will notice that the image is fake. For this reason, inspect your images closely before commercial use or use mainly for internal purposes i.e. during the concept and mockup phases of design. 

In a nutshell, when it comes to AI generated media – use with caution.


(Blog cover photos generated by Generated Photos)

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