Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

  • Facebook researchers created an AI algorithm to replace closed eyes in photographs with open ones.
  • The algorithm uses General Adversarial Networks to recreate people's eyes convincingly.
  • It is unclear whether this will be integrated as a feature into Facebook's platform.

Facebook researchers have created a machine-learning system which can take an image of somebody with closed eyes and replace them with open ones.

Researchers Brian Dolhansky and Cristian Canton Ferrer note in their paper for Facebook that "face retouching algorithms" like red-eye removal and virtual makeup have become very popular. So they turned their attention to making an algorithm that could successfully replace closed eyes with open ones.

Facebook's in-painting of eyes is pretty convincing.

This technique of "in-painting," using software to fill a space with what it thinks belongs there, is not new.

This is, however, a new approach to it, which uses General Adversarial Networks, a kind of machine-learning algorithm where two neural networks are pitted against each other. The networks are trained to recognize a person's eyes and then re-create them.

In the past, eye in-painting has left a lot to be desired in terms of realism. Facebook compared its own technology to that of Adobe's eye in-painting. Adobe's is in the third column and Facebook's is in the final column.

Adobe's eye in-painting (third column) compared to Facebook's (fourth column).

Even though this new method is generally convincing, it isn't foolproof. Glasses and locks of hair over the eyes were noted to interfere with the results. Researchers did manage to do a decent job on an image of Mahatma Gandhi, however.

Gandhi's glasses don't seem to have interfered significantly with the algorithm.

The researchers did not offer any clues as to whether the eye painting technology could be integrated into Facebook in the future. Business Insider has reached out to Facebook for comment.

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