Google Research is developing a new tool that could see the end of the selfie. Or at least, the end of actually having to shoot your own selfie. The big tech company is making a new AI tool that creates realistic avatars trained on real photos of that person.
According to Robert Wong, vice president of Google Creative Lab, the tool could mean an end to actually having to pose for photos of yourself in real life.
The tool is called Google DreamBooth and takes that photo booth concept into the AI world. DreamBooth is a text-to-image creation tool developed by Google Research and Boston University in 2022 where people can feed in images and then prompt to produce more of what is somewhat similar.
Wong’s research team are apparently inputting images of themselves in order to create endless streams of personalised content. With influencers in mind, it could potentially cut down on a lot of time spent taking selfies whilst simultaneously creating a consistent on-brand curated feed.
James Manica, senior vice president of research, technology and society at Google, said during a presentation at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity on Wednesday that artificial intelligence will have a significant impact on the creative sector.
He apparently even suggested that, like the invention of photography, AI might have a similarly liberating effect on art, saying ““When photography first arrived, many worried that it signalled the end of art because it threatened to disrupt important areas of work, such as landscape painting and portraiture. However,” he continues, “in many ways, the opposite turned out to be true. Freed from the need to accurately reproduce reality, painters went to new places that gave rise to impressionism, modernism, and much more.”
Time will tell if he’s correct on that count. Of course, Google isn’t the only company delving into similar self-portrait generation. Lensa AI and Headshot Pro are just two examples. While selfies aren’t exactly going to be taking a bite out of most portrait photographers’ work, it does sometimes feel as though the tech bros have it in for us.
The question remains, however, whether anyone will really care enough to look at these fake selfies. It’s bad enough scrolling through the real thing. Apparently, most of us hate looking at other people’s selfies.
Still, maybe making an AI selfie will be considerably safer than the real thing. It would be nice not to keep reporting selfie-related deaths and accidents.