Creating a nude portrait is a deeply intimate experience that passes between two people. Think Rose and Jack’s blushing eye contact during the “draw me like one of your French girls” scene in Titanic. Of course, the experience becomes exponentially less intimate when the person doing the drawing isn’t a person at all.
As a new set of images demonstrates, AI-generated nude portraits are the Titanic of nude portraits. (The death-boat, not the hit motion picture.)
Here are some AI generated nude portraits I've been working on????
Usually the machine just paints people as blobs of flesh with tendrils and limbs randomly growing out – I think it's really surreal. I wonder if that's how machines see us… pic.twitter.com/tYgzCHGfse
— Robbie Barrat (@DrBeef_) March 27, 2018
Robbie Barrat is a young artificial intelligence researcher at Stanford who goes by the unfortunate Twitter handle @DrBeef_. Out of sheer curiosity, Barrat recently pumped thousands of nude portraits from a dataset into a Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) and then steered it toward reproducing its own take on the genre. The results are predictably horrifying, but perhaps not in the exact way one might think.
“Usually the machine just paints people as blobs of flesh with tendrils and limbs randomly growing out – I think it’s really surreal. I wonder if that’s how machines see us…,” Barrat writes on one of many tweets in a thread displaying the images. Indeed, the GAN’s amateur porn looks like a prepubescent Francisco Goya saw a boob for the first time and was asked to recreate it using half-melted candle wax. Sometimes they look like dividing cells or fish creatures, with disconcertingly purplish faces that aren’t quite faces.
It’s all the more reason to never ask a computer to send nudes.