Google’s open-source machine learning project Tensorflow is probably used all the time for helpful things that advance the cause of mankind or something. But in my experience, what it has been best used for is making horrifying auto-generated images out of simple line drawings. I’m referring to edges2cats, which turned any line drawing into a cat. It was a whole thing! Everyone was trying it out, then posting pictures of really demented cats to Twitter for others to laugh at.
Today the same thing has happened, except it’s not cats. It’s human heads. And instead of Google’s project, Dutch Public Broadcaster NPO created its own artificial intelligence system that had only been fed thousands of images of one of its anchors, Lara Rense. As reported by the popular Tumblr prostheticknowledge, the web tool is called Pix2Pix.
You draw a face, and Pix2Pix uses a neural network to create what looks like an approximation of an oil painting of that face (made up of pieces of Rense’s face). Obviously the results mostly look like monsters, especially the pig-baby monster from the first season of American Horror Story. Also thumbs.
The auto-detected edges of your line drawing are probably only helpful if you are really good at drawing and can draw a lifelike face. For example, this is a total disaster, by me:
Here’s another total disaster, by The Verge news editor Kwame Opam:
My editor Chris Plante drew a portrait of my robot son Klav, who you might remember from a joke from nearly a year ago, but I don’t know how loyal you are to this website:
Our social media manager and resident cartoonist Dami Lee made the guy from Pan’s Labyrinth:
Anyway, have fun! You can read more about the project on the radio station’s website, but the Google translation of the Dutch is kind of rough.