Is it real, or is it Memorex? That was a popular ad campaign from the ’80s claiming Memorex tapes were so great, you couldn’t distinguish between live or recorded sound.
That may have been a bit overstated, but today’s technology is getting to be so advanced it has us questioning our own eyes.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is now able to generate images of people that aren’t real. But they are so realistic, you probably can’t tell which ones are fake.
Can you spot a fake image?
The site, whichfaceisreal.com, uses machine learning technology to create fake images of people. The technology is known as a generative adversarial network (GAN).
The GAN goes through tons of portraits of people over and over again, learning patterns so they can recreate what it sees. And then it tests its work by comparing a real person with a fake.
If the system is able to pick out the fake, it starts all over again to try and improve.
Here are a couple examples. In each side-by-side case, one person is real and one is fake. Can you tell which is which?
(Note: Take a guess for each example and then scroll down for the correct answer.)
(Image: test example #1)
(Image: text example #2)
Well, have you made your guess?
In example #1, the image on the left is the real person. In example #2, the image on the left is also the real person.
What’s most interesting is why the people behind the site created it. They believe technology like this could lead to problems, undermining society’s trust in reality-based evidence. A scarier result would be someone sending misinformation after a terror attack. AI could be used to generate fake images and spread them on social media.
Images aren’t the only thing that can be created by AI. Videos and audio can also be manipulated with it. This could make the whole fake news phenomenon we’ve been dealing with even worse. We already told you last year that deepfake video technology is the next big thing in fake news. But things could be even trickier soon.
Play around on the whichfaceisreal site and see how realistic these images are. If you find yourself questioning an image in real life, do a reverse image search to find out the truth. Keep reading to learn how.
How to do a reverse image search
Let’s say you stumble across an image online and you want to find it in a larger size, or track down its origin, or find similar images. Reverse image search acts like a regular Google search but uses an image instead of text.
This is really helpful for anyone in the online dating world. I’m sure you’ve heard the term “catfished.” It’s when someone online pretends to be someone they’re not and most likely are using images that are fake or don’t belong to them.
If you’re worried about being catfished, just go to Google’s Image Search site and upload the photo. Instantly, you’ll see other places that photo, or one like it, appears online. Voila, the catfish is fried.
For a more in-depth look at doing a reverse image search, read our article “7 digital tricks you’ll use time and time again.” Number seven on the list gives step-by-step instructions on how it works. Check it out.