How AI Is Feeding China’s Internet Dragon

Shortly after walking through the front doors of Baidu in Beijing last November, I was surprised to notice that my face had transformed into that of a cheerful-­looking little dog. As I chatted with one of Baidu’s AI researchers, the version of me shown on his smartphone had sprouted a very realistic-looking wet snout, fluffy ears, and a big pink tongue. The trick was performed on an app called Face You, released by Baidu last Halloween, which lets you add all sorts of spooky effects or animal characteristics to a digital image of your face. Face You makes use of an AI technique called deep learning to automatically identify key points on a person’s face, so that software can then position and stretch a virtual mask with amazing accuracy. Deep…

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