I love it when people go to extreme lengths. That’s exactly what writer and director Kyle Vorbach did recently when he decided to fake his own life using just AI-generated images. Many of us have played around with the Lensa app or other image generators like Midjourney or Dall-E, but perhaps we aren’t seeing the huge potential for making ourselves into the influencers we’d all like to be.
Kyle started with a boring stay with his parents. So inevitably, he started experimenting with what he could produce with AI to give his life a little more zest. Strictly for fun, of course. But things began to unravel when he kept going and ended up faking his life for an entire month.
The dedication to the cause is noteworthy. Particularly as it required hours and hours of sitting in front of his computer, sifting through images with strange eyeballs and extra fingers. But his patience was rewarded, and “Ryan Gosling Person” was born.
An entire trip to New York City was faked. Hanging out with friends was faked. A new life in LA with a sports car and apartment worthy of a feature on Selling Sunset was faked. And his friends and followers ate it up.
I must mention that Kyle’s video is excellently produced and offers a wonderful insight into the process. It’s absolutely worth having a watch, and I won’t reiterate it here. One warning though, there are a couple of F-bombs in the first minute for anyone with a sensitive disposition.
However, what was apparent to me, was just how advanced the technology is right now, and how quickly it has got there. Of course, faking things for likes is nothing new. But now it’s that much easier, quicker, and cheaper. Where are things going to go with this?
For anyone who has been catfished and is either dating online or hiring employees remotely, you should be very, very afraid. The potential for nefarious use of this is extreme. Don’t have abs? No worries, just fake that shirtless beach photo. Heck, you don’t even need to go to the beach!
And what of those portrait, wedding, and family photographers who just months ago felt smug knowing that Lucy-down-the-road would still hire them once a year for their holiday season family portraits? Between the ease of the cameras in our pockets (aka smartphones) and the ability to fake yourself into any situation, I’m not so sure they are as safe as they thought.
Kyle’s fake portrait of himself (example below) is alarmingly good. As portrait photographers, we should be very afraid right now.
So where is all this going to end up? My prediction is, that we will hit peak-fakery where we won’t be able to trust any images that we see. There may be a subsequent backlash and anti-social media movement. Who knows, maybe even a step back towards shooting film. And a universal basic income for all out-of-work creatives. Stranger things could happen.