There’s never a dull moment in the world of tech, and at Gloo we love reading about them all. From animating the face of Mona Lisa to how new trends could be changing the face of the beauty industryover the past week we’ve had plenty to discuss.  

Mona Lisa brought to life with ‘deep fake’

There’s no more recognisable painting than the Mona Lisaand now she’s been brought to life with a little help from AI. Researchers at Samsung’s Artificial Intelligence lab in Moscow have created a system to make the faces of portraits move. The algorithm was trained on a database of 7,000 images of celebrities. By drawing facial landmarks on a ‘source face’ and applying this data to a ‘target face’, it can generate facial movements in the target. That’s not new in itself, but Samsung’s algorithm is unique because it uses only a single, still image as its source.

The results are far from perfect, but human enough to be creepy. And many people are concerned about the potential misuse of this technology. So called ‘deep fake’ algorithms have already been used to create pornographic videos of celebrities simply from their photos. And an AI-generated video of Barack Obama talking was generated in 2017 to show the dangerous political power of such tools. As the technology grows more realistic, the ethical debate is likely to intensify. 

Amazon refuses to stop selling facial recognition tech

Last year, Amazon employees wrote an open letter to Jeff Bezos asking him to stop selling facial recognition software to law enforcement agencies. And now, Amazon’s shareholders have overwhelmingly rejected a proposal that sought to pressure the company into doing so.

Amazon’s Rekognition technology has been sold to law enforcement agencies in Oregon and Florida. The software uses AI to match images of faces captured on video surveillance with the millions of faces stored in law enforcement and government databases. But critics argue that the tech could be used to target and repress refugees and marginalised populations. And a recent study has suggested that Rekognition’s algorithms suffer from gender and racial bias. A few weeks ago, San Francisco even went so far as to become the first city to outlaw surveillance technology.

Tech trends shaping the beauty industry

The global cosmetics industry was valued at $532 billion in 2017a pretty impressive number by anybody’s standards, but how is it looking to keep up with the modern consumer? Today’s customers want personalised products, they want to be able to try things instantly and they want to be able to do more online.

The beauty industry is changing fast and it’s using the latest technology in innovative and creative ways to meet consumers’ demands. For example, L’Oréal subsidiary Lancome’s personalised foundation creates your “perfect match” with the help of AI, while Sephora’s Virtual Artist lets you try on thousands of shades of lipstick and eyeshadow through your smartphone. Even more outlandishly, the Opté wand from Proctor and Gamble scans your face and applies your make up for you. How many of these are likely to become firm favourites, and how many are just early gimmicks, only time will tell.

Posted by John on 29 May 2019