B.C. researchers using A.I. to change the face of anonymous interviews
Technology brings expressive parts of face to life while keeping identification hidden
Artificial intelligence technology developed by researchers from Simon Fraser University and University of British Columbia could change the way anonymous sources look when their faces are hidden on camera, researchers say.
The team has been working on a way to better express the emotions of anonymous interview subjects — whose faces are usually covered or obscured by pixelation — while still protecting their identity.
"It would look, pretty much, like a painting," professor Steve DiPaola told Stephen Quinn, host of CBC's The Early Edition.
"We're using artificial intelligence to take the hundreds of years of knowledge that portrait painters use; that they get your outer and, in some ways, your inner resemblance."
DiPaola says the technology brings expressive parts of the face like the eyes and eyebrows to life but also abstracts the face enough to prevent identification.
While artificial intelligence does much of the work, a producer can adjust facial features manually, he said. For instance, if the anonymous source is known for having large eyes, the producer can shrink them.
"At every level, there is control," DiPaolo said.
DiPaolo says the look of the A.I. technology is very different from what news outlets traditionally use and might take some getting used to.
He argues, however, once audience see it, they might actually be more engaged by it.
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With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast