Meet Aileen, she may like walks in the park, could be fond of chocolate and those videos of people popping pimples. Honestly, you'll never know, as Aileen doesn't exist; she's another product of AI image generators. Aileen is a fake.
Aileen is the face of a new photo studio and modelling agency, one with a big difference – Deep Agency has no photographers, no locations and no real people. You simply put in your needs and out comes a realistic photo of a model, you can even upload yourself. For small agencies and marketing departments this could be a great app to use. But as always, the use of AI is controversial.
We've been covering the weird AI art that's been appearing online for over a year and reported on how many digital artists are opposing AI art generators, especially when the ArtStation homepage was taken over as a protest. Now photographers and models are in the sights of AI image generators.
The founder of Deep Agency, Danny Postma, took to Twitter to announce the new project, saying "these models don't exist […] but you can hire them". He confirmed everything is "100% AI generated" and that the new agency is aimed at marketing agencies and ecommerce projects.
This was always going to be controversial as it's another use of AI generated images that could put talented people out of jobs. This is partly because Deep Agency really does look real. But tellingly, none of the images show hands, as AI image generators are notorious for not being able to render fingers. (Take a look at my story on the AI art that is the stuff of nightmares.)
One user, Mohammed Rujel, put Deep Agency to the test and found the same problem that plagues all AI generated images and art – spaghetti hands. He posted his experiment online, saying: "Tried a basic prompt with a cup of tea… and the hands look abnormal. Same happens in midjourney and jasper ai, you can create some real-looking images but detailing it creates some abnormal stuff as well."
Naturally, not everyone is happy about the creeping use of invented people to advertise us products. Illustrator Serena Maylon (opens in new tab) wrote: "You found a way to put people out of work and make a tidy profit for yourself by scraping other peoples' photography and likenesses and selling it. AI devs really enjoy making things no one needed and making the world worse for the people they're ripping off."
While artist and game designer Tom Cartos wanted to know, "Where is the source data taken from? Do you have a licence for it? And who gets ownership of the 'selfies' people upload? Is that fed back into the system that everyone can access and draw from?"
We're clearly in a transition phase where AI generated images and AI art projects are going to dominate the discourse, and some of the results are undeniably impressive as well as just weird and unreal. Many artists, designers and photographers are concerned as some AI image generators scrape the web for art and reuse it without consent (the source of Deep Agency's reference images is unknown).
If we do want to see some positives in the rise of AI art generators then it's how many people are finally discovering the effort and talent it takes to be a successful artist and photographer. If you look at Aileen's hands and know you can do better the pick up one of the best cameras or our picks of the best drawing tablets and get creating – be inspired to do better than an AI generator.
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