Alas, poor humanity. We thought we could create Artificial Intelligence to suit our needs. It turns out, AI is already creating humans.
What you are seeing in the video above is the generation of photorealistic human faces. Keep in mind, none of these people have ever existed. They are all computer generated.
Nvidia is reporting that the source code to this technique will be released in January of 2019. We’re hoping some enterprising team will create a SaaS platform for this dynamic photo generation service. Otherwise, we might have to build it ourselves.
Free Stock Photos Forever?
All AI doomsday scenarios aside, one powerful application for this kind of adversarial image and video generation software is in the real-time fabrication of current events for controlling public sentiment. However, the best application we see is the ability to create on-the-fly photorealistic images to suit any web content. Infinite, royalty free images for everyone… forever. We predict most stock photo repositories will go out of business. We’re looking at you, Shutterstock, Pexels, istockphotos, et al.
Heck, even free stock photo sites like Unsplash and Pixabay are in danger. Who wants a free stock photo that’s been used on hundreds or thousands of other websites, when you can create a totally unique image variant that no one has ever seen before?
The Future of Photography Isn’t Fake
The only hope for the survival of a stock photography website would be to incorporate this technology into their offerings, and slash prices. Because that’s what’s going to happen in the next few years. The prices of all stock photos are going to plummet.
If you ask a professional photographer to capture a particular scene in a certain way, and you want the exclusive rights to that unique photo, they are likely to charge you hundreds of dollars. With this technology, you could have the same service for mere pennies, if not for free. Although, many photographers already focus heavily on highly personalized images of actual real-life events known to the recipients of the photos. So we expect the professional photography market to be more resilient to disruption from this new tech.
Not to mention, you still need to use the images in a way that makes sense in the context of your brand and the customer experience. Everyone will be able to focus more time and energy on what images to use and how they impact their customers. Less time will be spent creating the images and managing image rights. All this technology could help creative marketing & design firms to flourish if they and adopt quickly. So in that sense, this is nothing new: “Adapt or die” is a concept as old as time itself.
Not Just Fake Humans – Fake World
In the video above, you get a small glimpse at the applications beyond faces; Scenarios. Objects. Animals. Scenes. All types of unique photos can be produced on the fly with infinite variety and subtle differences.
Also, make a mental note to yourself: You can’t trust anything you see digitally. The future is here, it seems.
So what do you think? Is the death of photography upon us? Or just the death of stock photography? Let us know in the comments below!