AI-generated white faces seem more real than actual humans

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Recent research from The Australian National University (ANU) reveals a startling discovery: AI-generated white faces are often perceived as more realistic than those of actual human beings.

This finding, published in Psychological Science, highlights a significant bias in AI technology, with serious implications for reinforcing racial biases online.

AI Training and Racial Bias

Disproportionate Training: The AI algorithms used to create these faces have been predominantly trained on white faces, leading to a higher realism in AI-generated white faces compared to faces of people of color.

Implications for People of Color: This bias could have severe consequences, as AI technologies used for creating professional headshots are already altering the features of people of color to resemble white characteristics.

Misleading Realism and Its Dangers

False Confidence: People often fail to recognize these AI faces as artificial, with those mistaking them for real faces being most confident in their judgment.

Physical Differences Misinterpreted: Although there are still differences between AI and human faces, people often misread these differences as signs of humanness, particularly in white AI faces.

Advancing Technology: The rapid advancement in AI technology suggests that distinguishing between AI and human faces may soon become even more challenging.

Broader Implications and the Need for Action

Misinformation and Identity Theft Risks: The increasing realism of AI faces could contribute to the spread of misinformation and increase the risk of identity theft.

Call for Transparency and Public Awareness: The researchers stress the need for greater transparency in AI development and public education to mitigate these risks.

Tools for Detection: As human ability to detect AI faces diminishes, there is a growing need for tools that can accurately identify AI-generated images.


This study underlines a critical issue in the field of artificial intelligence, emphasizing the importance of addressing inherent racial biases and the potential dangers posed by hyper-realistic AI-generated images.

It calls for a collective effort in ensuring ethical AI development and widespread public education to safeguard against the risks associated with this rapidly evolving technology.

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The research findings can be found in Psychological Science.

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