AI’s Bold Leap: ‘Hyper-Real’ White Faces through Advanced Imaging

Recent research published in the journal Psychological Science reveals a concerning trend— AI excels at creating hyper-real images of white faces, potentially maintaining racial prejudice online.

Lead author Amy Dawel from the Australian National University (ANU) warns that if consistently perceived as more realistic, white AI faces may intensify racial biases, posing serious implications for people of color in online spaces.

Hyper-Real Portrayal of Faces by AI

The study identifies a significant issue—the tendency of AI to depict individuals of other ethnicities with white features. Dawel attributes this to biased training data, highlighting the urgent need for addressing these algorithmic shortcomings.

To counter potential misinformation and online scams, the authors emphasize the importance of public education regarding the hyper-real capabilities of contemporary AI.

In a thorough study, a total of 200 images were used. Half of these were created by artificial intelligence, while the other half featured real individuals. The experiment involved 124 participants who were presented with these images for evaluation. The results revealed a notable challenge in distinguishing between AI and human-generated images.

Despite clear differences between AI and real images, participants struggled to discern them accurately. The study explores how perceptions of attractiveness, familiarity, and image quality influenced participants’ judgments.

The Role of Bias in Judgments

Participants tended to identify more proportional, less memorable, and more familiar faces as human—qualities often accentuated in AI-generated images. There are worries that this tendency in evaluations could serve to maintain existing assumptions.

Utilizing the gathered perceptions, the researchers developed a model capable of accurately identifying over 90% of the faces, highlighting the need for ongoing vigilance in addressing biases within AI systems.

The Evolving Landscape of AI Technology

Recognizing the swift progress in AI technology, Dawel envisions a future where the line between AI and human faces blurs. This highlights the urgency for proactive steps to reduce bias in facial recognition algorithms and ensure fairness in their outcomes.

Also, see: Revolutionary Power-Saving: Next-Gen AI Chip Mimics Human Brain


1. How does AI contribute to hyper-real portrayals, and what impact does it have on racial biases?

AI, particularly in facial recognition, tends to excel in creating hyper-real images of white faces due to biased training data. This hyper-realism may reinforce racial biases online, especially affecting people of color.

2. Can AI technology completely eliminate the differences between AI-generated and human faces?

The study suggests that with the rapid advancement of AI technology, the distinctions between AI-generated and human faces may diminish in the future. Ongoing efforts to address biases within AI systems are necessary to ensure responsible and equitable AI development.

3. Why is public education crucial in addressing the hyper-real capabilities of AI?

Educating the public about AI’s hyper-real capabilities is vital to prevent misinformation and online scams. Awareness helps individuals navigate online spaces more critically and understand the potential consequences of biased AI.

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Aliha Zulfiqar
Aliha Zulfiqar
With a major in English Language and Literature, I'm a dedicated SEO Content Writer. Also, I love to write about technology. With over 2 years of experience, I've had the privilege of contributing to various renowned platforms. As I look forward to the future, I am committed to refining my work and delivering content that stands out.

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