I’m pretty sure you all know by now that AI-generated faces are a thing. After all, we’ve already reached the stage where we can describe something in words and AI turns it into a photo or a video in seconds. So, it’s not surprising that AI portraits have found their purpose, and it’s even less surprising that it’s – deceptive.
A recent report shows that companies are using fake AI-generated portraits on their “About Us” pages. “Why,” you may wonder. Well, apparently, they do it to look more professional and to make their companies look bigger than they are.
Evan Ratliff did an investigation for Insider and found that some companies were using Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) software to create AI-generated portraits of fake employees. While sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish AI-generated portraits from actual headshots, there can be some telltale signs. And this is what Evan noticed in “About Us” of Austrian test-prep company takeIELTS. Some “employees” had oddities like wearing only one earring or having one side of their face shaved closer than the other.
Evan spoke to Lukas, the man behind takeIELTS, and he confirmed that the company indeed used several fake images on its “About Us” page. Ironically, the company had plenty of positive reviews from customers (actual ones, not AI-generated). Still, Lukas reportedly told Evan that “the impression of a large workforce improved takeIELTS’s credibility,” as Insider reports. “It conveys the right message that it’s a big company working with professionals.” However, when Evan visited takeIELTS months later, he claims that Lukas had removed all the fake images and changed the company’s name.
As you can probably guess, this isn’t the only company that Evan found to be using AI-generated portraits. According to his report, another company only had one legit employee while the others were just AI portraits of non-existent people. He found that the company’s “chief marketing officer” had his photo on 30 other sites.
“They aren’t meant to impersonate anyone, or steal an identity. They’re meant to impersonate everyone, to mimic the fundamentals of human appearance with increasing fidelity.”
Personally, I’m not surprised by this, considering that I’ve seen many companies use stock photos before. Some use it for “staff,” and even more of them with customer testimonials. It was only a matter of time before AI-generated portraits will be used for the deception of this kind. After all, you can go and buy these AI portraits just as you would stock photos. And I’m honestly surprised how come it hasn’t happened sooner… Or we just didn’t pay attention.