News & Opinion | January 10, 2020 9:25 am

AI Companies Are Selling Photos of Fake People to Dating Apps and Marketers

Photos of AI-generated humans help create the illusion of bigger, more diverse populations

Companies Are Selling AI-Generated Photos of Fake People
Why hire a model when you can just AI-generate one?
Getty

As a long-time frequenter of dating apps, I have been questioned more than a few times by matches accusing me of having a fake profile. While this often struck me as paranoid, it turns out these app users might be on to something. According to the Washington Post, artificial intelligence companies are selling AI-generated photos of fake people to various companies, including at least one dating app.

These computer-generated photos are useful for companies looking to diversify promotional materials or illustrate sensitive topics real models may not want to be associated with.

Icons8, an Argentina-based design firm that sells digital illustrations and stock photos, boasts an offering of “worry-free, diverse models on-demand using AI” for sale. But while these AI-generated images can help companies create the illusion of diversity, critics worry this AI loophole could mask hiring bias and thwart efforts to actually increase diversity.

“We want to create more diversity and show unique faces in advertising going forward,” said Valerie Emanuel, a Los Angeles-based co-founder of the talent agency Role Models Management. “This is homogenizing one look.”

AI experts also worry the technology could aid scammers, bots and spies in creating fake profiles.

Models also fear the ability to generate photos of fake people could begin to take jobs away from real ones. “As a model, I think it would take the job from people,” he said. “But you can’t stop the future.”

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