The media in Japan have a history of blowing scandals such as casual drug use or extra-martial affairs way out of proportion.

Right or wrong, this social climate can make hiring a spokesmodel for a company’s promotional campaign very tricky business. Human beings are inherently fraught with imperfections unbecoming for the voice of a cartoon snowman or person holding a bottle of salad oil on TV.

But now, we have the technology. We can make models purer than before. Purer…emptier… more soulless.

INAI Model, which is both an abbreviation for ImageNavi AI Model and literally translates to “model which does not exist,” is a new service that can provide you with the “model” that marketing dreams are made of.

Each model is an AI generated image that isn’t an actual person and therefore unable to blurt out racist comments or get caught poaching rhinos…ever.

Their surprisingly realistic appearance is partly due to each model being based on an actual person that was hired by ImageNavi and photographed. However, those photos were then processed through a generative adversarial network and altered beyond recognition.

Photos of these unreal models can be purchased from ImageNavi’s stock photo site at prices ranging from 20,000 to 33,000 yen depending on resolution.

In the near future ImageNavi will also be able to process models based on used submitted images as well, but no famous faces are permitted and none of these women may be used to promote ethically controversial products and services such as adult entertainment.

INAI Model currently only offers women in their 20s, but hopes to expand to more ages and genders in the near future. Opinion online was mixed, with some highly critical of ImageNavi’s output and others able to see potential in the idea.

“Who needs celebrities?”

“So can I call them ugly and not have to worry about slander?”

“I think the trick is not to make them too beautiful. These are pretty good but all their teeth are too perfect.”

“They’ll work for cheesy banner ads, but at that point who cares about scandals anyway.”

“Not quite out of the uncanny valley yet.”

“I’m scared of people who don’t exist.”

“But they’re not taking into account name recognition.”

“Let’s just say hypothetically they use this technology for naked purposes. Would they not have to add a mosaic since it’s not an actual person?”

“Huh, interesting. Who knew entertainers’ jobs would be threatened by AI first?”

“It’s still in its early stages, so it looks pretty good so far.”

I think a lot of criticism stems from people knowing ahead of time that these women were AI-generated. Had they not known, they probably wouldn’t have realized these women were fake at all. That being said, as a solution to the social problem of scandals, it doesn’t seem to do anything to address the more important underlying problems.

The technology is definitely cool, but we might do better as a society to not fly off half-cocked every time a famous person has a lapse of judgement or gets a boyfriend. After that’s all settled, we can find a good place to fit in the AI models.

Source: Japan Today
Image credits: ImageNavi AI Model