FaceApp, why it's controversial and how creepy good artificial intelligence has become
Pretty soon, don't be surprised if your Instagram feed or Facebook wall gets flooded with pictures of friends using FaceApp, an app that has been under fire recently after some users complained about one of its filters as being "racist".
The app basically provides filters that that give your photos toothy grins, turn you into the opposite sex, age you (or shave some years off depending on what you prefer), and the filter in question: spark.
Spark was once called "hot", which basically just lightens your skin or gives it that wonderful pale vampire glow I don't know for sure. Apparently, artificial intelligence is to blame for this. Using neural network technology, the app basically uploads your photo to the cloud where the filters are then added. Now, why lightening one's skin makes one hot or give you a "spark", no one can say.
If you visit the app though, the description reads:
Transform your face using Artificial Intelligence in just one tap!
- Add beautiful smile
- Get younger or older
- Become more attractive
- Change gender
Yaroslav Goncharov has since issued an apology after the backlash, describing it an "unfortunate side-effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behaviour", according to The Guardian.
I tried FaceApp and in this article's accompanying photo, the collage features me as (clockwise from top right) a female, an older male I guess with hints of facial hair, and after the spark filter has been applied.
The two smile filters were really very good though but for some reason, I was disturbed at how creepy it made me look smiling like Willy Wonka, the Johnny Depp version.