The craze for image-generating artificial intelligence has entered its next phase of absurdity: creating fake profile photos to help you look better on dating apps like Tinder and on social media.
For $19, a service called PhotoAI uses 12-20 of your mediocre, poorly lit selfies to generate a batch of fake photos tailored to your chosen style or platform. The results show an AI trend that seems to be regularly ahead of its time: LinkedIn’s package will create photos of you in a suit or business attire, while Tinder’s settings promise to make you look “the best you’ve ever looked.”
There are also options that generate artistic Polaroids, photoshop you into memes, or make hyper-stylized portraits that copy the aesthetics of popular artists.
Motherboard tested the PhotoAI service by uploading 12 photos of Motherboard executive editor Emanuel Maiberg. The editors chose the “Tinder” package and received a link to a gallery of 78 images in less than 4 hours. Like many AI-generated photos, they are impressive in some cases, but not entirely convincing if you look closely at them. In other cases, they are both funny and terrifying.
In these images, Emanuel really does look like he’s got some great productivity hacks to post to his Linkedin profile, but if you look closely you’ll see his mouth is not very realistic (every image has some small flaws like this):
In these images, seemingly for a Tinder package, PhotoAI has styled Emanuel in a leather jacket and sunglasses. Again, neither is entirely believable if you look at it for more than a second.
According to creator Sebastien Lhomme, PhotoAI works by building a “fine-tuning” model based on user-submitted photos. The results are then filtered through a second small model that applies the chosen style and then finally into Stable Diffusion, which is publicly available. In other words, you’re not paying for fancy proprietary AI technology, but for a service that simply loads your photos into an already existing AI image generator. In recent months, similar services have appeared that, for a fee, use AI to create text prompts, which can then of course be used to create photos with AI.
The emergence of artificial intelligence image generators has sparked controversy in recent months. Some artists have complained that tools like DALL-E and Midjourney actually copied their styles after using their work as training material without permission. So while creating self-portraits with AI might be silly and fun, it’s still unclear where and when they can be used — legally or morally.