AI can create fake celebrity photos so real it's scary

Graphics chip maker Nvidia uses neural networks to draw photo-realistic images.

Roger Cheng
Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
Expertise Mobile, 5G, Big Tech, Social Media Credentials SABEW Best in Business 2011 Award for Breaking News Coverage, Eddie Award in 2020 for 5G coverage, runner-up National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award for culture analysis.

These aren't real people!


Can you believe what you see? Thanks to Nvidia , that may no longer be the case. 

The graphics chip maker published a study last week on its use of "generative adversarial networks," or a kind of artificial intelligence that employs two neural networks, to create photo-realistic images of fake celebrities. See those photos above? Those aren't real people. 

The process begins with a low-resolution image, and the two neural networks work to lay out more high-definition features until you get to those finished results. The company used the CelebA database of stock celebrity images to create different mash-ups. 

AI is one of the hottest trends in the tech world, with companies like Google, Apple and Amazon using artificial intelligence to let your phone recognize real-world objects, help you better run your smart home or find that right photo in your camera roll.