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AI-generated faces now look more real than even the actual human faces
CANBERRA (Web Desk) - The faces generated by artificial intelligence (AI) may now appear more real than human faces.
The people shown in the picture have no presence in the world. All these faces are AI-generated and look real human beings.
Recent evidence shows that artificial intelligence (AI)-generated faces are now indistinguishable from human faces. However, algorithms are trained disproportionately on White faces, and thus White AI faces may appear especially realistic.
In experiments, participants were systematically wrong, and were more likely to say AI-generated faces were real. On average, people labelled about 2 out of 3 of the AI-generated faces as human. These results suggest AI-generated faces look more real than actual faces; this effect is called as 'hyperrealism'.
According to a new research led by experts at The Australian National University (ANU) and published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, more people thought AI-generated white faces were human than the faces of real people.
The same wasn't true for images of people of colour.
The reason for the discrepancy is that AI algorithms are trained disproportionately on White faces, Dr Amy Dawel, the senior author of the paper, said.
"If White AI faces are consistently perceived as more realistic, this technology could have serious implications for people of colour by ultimately reinforcing racial biases online," Dr Dawel said.
"This problem is already apparent in current AI technologies that are being used to create professional-looking headshots. When used for people of colour, the AI is altering their skin and eye colour to those of White people."
One of the issues with AI 'hyper-realism' is that people often don't realise they're being fooled, the researchers found.
"Concerningly, people who thought that the AI faces were real most often were paradoxically the most confident their judgements were correct," Elizabeth Miller, study co-author and PhD candidate at ANU, said.
"This means people who are mistaking AI imposters for real people don't know they are being tricked." The researchers were also able to discover why AI faces are fooling people.
"It turns out that there are still physical differences between AI and human faces, but people tend to misinterpret them. For example, White AI faces tend to be more in-proportion and people mistake this as a sign of humanness," Dr Dawel said.
"However, we can't rely on these physical cues for long. AI technology is advancing so quickly that the differences between AI and human faces will probably disappear soon."
The researchers argue this trend could have serious implications for the proliferation of misinformation and identity theft, and that action needs to be taken.
"AI technology can't become sectioned off so only tech companies know what's going on behind the scenes. There needs to be greater transparency around AI so researchers and civil society can identify issues before they become a major problem," Dr Dawel said.
Raising public awareness can also play a significant role in reducing the risks posed by the technology, the researchers argue. "Given that humans can no longer detect AI faces, society needs tools that can accurately identify AI imposters," Dr Dawel said.
"Educating people about the perceived realism of AI faces could help make the public appropriately sceptical about the images they're seeing online."