You can now see what it looks like when AI forgets a face
Nausheen Shehnaz

“What I saw before the darkness,” is the title of a video which is a time-lapse view of what it’s like when AI forgets a face. An algorithmically-generated face was created by a programmer with the help of an AI network, after which the programmer made the network slowly forget what its own face looked like. The video shows the inside of a demented AI’s mind while its artificial neurons were being switched off one by one.

The face in the mind of the network was composed by a type of machine learning program called generative adversarial networks, that identifies and learns from existing photos. The technology was trained on millions of pictures to produce a realistic human face. It works on the same concept of how a human brain uses a network of neurons to construct a mental image of a face. In an email from the project’s creator who is an artist who calls herself as “the girl who talks to AI” said that the AI would continue to cut off individual neurons until the network forgets what the face looked like. The progression of the video looks like the generated face is aging and continues to show the whole process until there’s nothing left but a white and brown smudge. The creator then compares this to Claude Monet’s painting where as he aged, the paintings became blurred and the color was shifted to muddled greens and yellows. Similarly, the human eye and brain along with the networks that connect them, begin to change and gradually deteriorate. In a report, the creator said, “Neuroscientists tell us deep neural networks are similar to the visual system in certain aspects, so this project for me is a unique opportunity to see the world changing in someone’s mind, albeit artificially.”

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