A.I. is getting scary good at generating fake humans. Watch this demo

A.I. is getting pretty scarily good at lying to us. No, we’re not talking about wilfully misleading people for nefarious means, but rather creating sounds and images that appear real, but don’t exist in the real world.

In the past, we’ve covered artificial intelligence that’s able to create terrifyingly real-looking “deep fakes” in the form of faces, synthetic voices and even, err, Airbnb listings. Now, researchers from Japan are going one step further by creating photorealistic, high-res videos of people — complete with clothing — who have only ever existed in the fevered imagination of a neural network. The company responsible for this jaw-dropping tech demo is DataGrid, a startup based on the campus of Japan’s Kyoto University. As the video up top shows, the A.I. algorithm can dream up an endless parade of realistic-looking humans who constantly shapeshift from one form to another, courtesy of some dazzling morphing effects.

Like many generative artificial intelligence tools (including the A.I. artwork which sold for big bucks at a Christie’s auction last year), this latest demonstration was created using something called a Generative Adversarial Network (GAN). A GAN pits two artificial neural networks against one another. In this case, one network generates new images, while the other attempts to work out which images are computer-generated and which are not. Over time, the generative adversarial process allows the “generator” network to become sufficiently good at creating images that they can successfully fool the “discriminator” every time.

As can be seen from the video, the results are impressive. They don’t appear to have any of the image artifacts or strange glitches which have marked out many attempts at generating images. However, it’s also likely not a coincidence that the video shows humans positioned against simple white backdrops, thereby minimizing the potential of confusing backgrounds which could affect the images created.

Provided all is as it seems, this is a fascinating (albeit more than a little disconcerting) advance. If we were employed as movie extras or catalog models for clothing brands, we’d probably be feeling a little bit nervous right now. At the very least, the possibility of next-level fake news just got a whole lot better.

Emerging Tech

Stallone in Terminator 2? How one deepfake prankster is changing cinema history

Ever wanted to see The Shining with Jim Carrey instead of Jack Nicholson? How about Stallone in Terminator 2: Judgement Day instead of everyone's favorite governator? Thanks to deepfakes, it's now possible -- just ask YouTuber Ctrl Shift…
Emerging Tech

Photorealistic A.I. tool can fill in gaps in images, including faces

Researchers have developed a smart new A.I. system which can accurately fill in blank areas in an image, whether that’s a missing face or the front of a building. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Professional poker players no match for A.I. in six-player Texas Hold ’em

Poker AI Pluribus destroyed professional players in Texas Hold 'em. The bot won an average of $5 per hand with winnings of $1,000 per hour, with strategies that were very different to how humans played the game.
Emerging Tech

MIT whiz kids got a robot to take on the viral #BottleCapChallenge

It turns out the ultra-smart folks at MIT think about the same silly viral meme challenges as the rest of us. Check out their attempt to get a robot to take on the #BottleCapChallenge.
Emerging Tech

See a gargantuan dust storm covering the north pole of Mars

A dust storm around Mars' north pole has been imaged by the Mars Express orbiter. Localized dust storms are common on Mars, but occasionally one expands into a planet-wide event like the one which caused the demise of the Opportunity rover.
Emerging Tech

The Very Large Telescope captures the beautiful remnants of a dying star

The VLT has captured a beautiful cosmic object, the planetary nebula named Abell 24. Located in constellation of Canis Minor (The Lesser Dog), it is a swirl of dust and gas which is illuminated by the core of a dead star.
Emerging Tech

Astronomers have spotted a moon forming around a proto-Jupiter

Astronomers have spotted a young planet with a disk of gas and dust around it which is similar to the one from which the moons of Jupiter were born. The planet PDS 70 b is in the process of forming and is located 370 light-years away.
Emerging Tech

NASA thinks 3D-printing spacecraft parts in orbit will help Moon to Mars mission

NASA funded the demonstration by a small spacecraft named Archinaut One to manufacture and assemble parts while in space. NASA believes that the technology will change future space exploration, including its Moon to Mars initiative.
Emerging Tech

Flyboard Air soars over Paris during France’s national day celebrations

Franky Zapata, the inventor of the jet-powered Flyboard Air, showed off his machine during France's Bastille Day celebrations on Sunday. The impressive display was even given a nod of approval by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Deals

Save with Prime Day deals on DNA kits from Ancestry, 23andme, and Living DNA

Prime Day is a great time to order a DNA kit. Over the years, kits from various providers have been deeply discounted -- and this year's no exception. Kits from AncestryDNA, 23andMe, and Living DNA are on sale for as much as half off…
Emerging Tech

Airport hotel builds a full-sized flight simulator into one of its guest rooms

Aviation enthusiasts flying out of Tokyo's Haneda Airport, there's a new hotel room designed just for you. It features a full-sized Boeing 737-800 flight simulator, though you'll have to pay extra to use it.
Emerging Tech

Like the real thing, this robot ant colony is more than the sum of its parts

Researchers have built a robot ant colony, consisting of tiny 10-gram robots which are able to communicate with one another, assign roles among themselves, and work together to complete tasks.
Emerging Tech

Watch live: Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins reflect on the moon landing

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the famous Apollo 11 mission, NASA will hold a live broadcast featuring a retrospective and presentations by the astronauts involved. You can watch the event live on July 16 at 6:15 a.m. PT.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX finally knows what caused its Crew Dragon capsule to explode

SpaceX and NASA say they finally know what caused its Crew Dragon capsule to explode during an April test of the spacecraft’s thruster system. It's now unlikely that the capsule will be used for crewed spaceflight before the end of the…