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Can You Tell a Real Human from an A.I. Generated Face?

Back in February we told you about the website This Person Does Not Exist, which uses an artificial intelligence program to randomly create hyper realistic human faces of all ages and races. The site’s algorithm pulls from a massive database of actual people to instantly cobble together totally imaginary individuals every time you refresh the page. It’s equal parts amazing and horrifying. The A.I. technology is amazing, but the world wide web is already anonymous enough. Lots of terrible people hide behind that anonymity for nefarious reasons. Now they can conjure up a “real person” as cover for their deception.

We can’t accept a photo as proof someone is real now! We’re all going to have to learn to spot the differences between actual humans and a computer’s approximation of one.

Think you can do it? Can you tell the difference? You can test yourself with the website Which Face is Real, which puts your ability to pick the real face from the fake one to the test. The site, which we learned about at Futurism, says its “aim is to make you aware of the ease with which digital identities can be faked, and to help you spot these fakes at a single glance,” by putting a photo of an actual human next to one made by the the A.I. program. Before we give you some tips to help you, try playing first to see just how hard it is.

Did you get this one “right?”
Did you get this one right?

How’d you do? If it was your first time ever seeing the A.I. faces, the answer is probably “not great.” Even the ones you did get right were probably a lot tougher than you might have thought. Having them side-by-side helps, since you already know one is fake and one is real. However, fake images won’t always appear that way, and recognizing imaginary faces will be a lot harder when they are presented alone.

Fortunately there are some “tricks” to help you, thanks to the A.I. program’s limitations. Which Face is Real says some things you can look for to help spot the fakes are problems with:

-Water-splotches
-Background problems
-Eyeglasses
-Other asymmetries
-Hair
-“Flourescent bleed”
-Teeth


Not sure, are you? She’s real, he’s not.

You can also look for clues a photo is real (I found complex backgrounds or the presence of other people to be the biggest giveaways for real people) and the biggest silver bullet of them all – other photos of the individual, because the “algorithm is unable to generate multiple images of the same fake person.”

For now the safest thing to do if some stranger does sends you a photo of themselves to prove they are real is to ask for another one.

Images: This Person Does Not Exist/Which Face is Real

P.S. The featured image? The real person is on the right. We know!

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