I retweeted this story yesterday – and then woke up this morning realizing that I was going to want to find it faster later, a lot, probably.

The first weird thing to report is that Twitter censored the video and implied that I might want to view it because Twitter’s AI had tagged it as somehow sensitive. I had to confirm that I really wanted to view it by clicking on a link.

In search of clues, off I went to the wiki to get a closer look at this FaceApp miracle.

FaceApp is a photo and video editing application launched in 2017 by Wireless Lab, a company based in Russia.

The app generates highly realistic transformations of human faces in photographs by using neural networks based on artificial intelligence.

FaceApp can transform a face to make it smile, look younger, look older, or change gender.

There are multiple options to manipulate the photo uploaded – such the option to add an impression, make-up, smiles, hair colors, hairstyles, glasses, age or beards.

The gender change transformations of FaceApp have attracted particular interest from the LGBT and transgender communities, due to their ability to realistically simulate the appearance of a person as the opposite gender.

User data and uploaded images are processed on servers running in the Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services, user photos were only stored on servers to save bandwidth when applying multiple filters, and are deleted shortly after being uploaded.

A “hot” transformation, designed to make its users appear more “attractive”, generated some controversy shortly after its release because the underlying neural network’s algorithms were automatically “deciding that the way to make an ethnic African look more “hot” was to make them look more European.

Founder and CEO Yaroslav Goncharov apologised and promised that a “complete fix” was being worked on.

I’m almost tempted to get one of those tiny agents to play with the little hacker. Almost.

Chiobu Face
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