Generated Photos 'infinite diversity' face collection prompts controversy

Occurred: September 2019

A collection of 100,000 free images of AI-generated faces intended to help designers who need portraits for their websites, apps or presentations prompted controversy over the ease for which it could be used maliciously.

Launched in September 2019, Generated Photos features headshots with consistent lighting and sizing with a wide range of angles, positions, and facial expressions, reflecting a wide variety of ethnicities, ages and face shapes to represent an 'infinite diversity.'

A large number of users praised the collection for the 'realism' and usefulness of the photos. However, some described the photos as 'weird', 'stiff' and, in some instances, 'truly fucked up'. Others pointed out the ease with which they could be used for malicious purposes, and that they could put licensed stock photo companies and models out of business.

In a blog post, Generated Photos developer Icon8 said the company used real models to create the 'incredibly realistic' images rather than scraping from the web or using stock photographs, thereby getting round copyright issues.

Operator: Icons8
Developer: Icons8; Prototypr

Country: USA

Sector: Business/professional services

Purpose: Produce 'infinite diversity'

Technology: Deepfake - image; Generative adversarial network (GAN); Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Dual/multi-use; Employment

Transparency: Governance

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: March 2023