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This AI app can replace anything in a photo and it is terrifying

Published Jan 27th, 2024 9:01AM EST
threat of AI is growing
Image: AndSus / Adobe

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A new AI app just dropped that lets you replace anything in a photograph. The tool, which is appropriately named ReplaceAnything, can currently be tested on a demo page online. The AI replacement app allows users to upload photos, select the subject they want to keep, and then enter a prompt to change parts of the photo.

The results are somewhat terrifying, to be honest, just because of the sheer freedom it gives you to take images of friends, family members, or even celebrities and put them wherever you want. Now, the hope is that this particular app has safeguards in place to prevent malicious behavior. But that won’t stop users from doing things they probably shouldn’t.

As you can see in the image that I’ve shared above — a screenshot that I took after testing the system myself — the AI is able to take a prompt and shift the subject so that it fits into a new scene. Obviously, the AI replacement app isn’t flawless, and you can clearly tell that it cut the woman from one image and placed it into another.

AI replacement app on demo page
In the above example, I selected the woman as the subject to keep and asked the AI to make her showcase a bottle of water instead. It added the background itself. Image source: Binghui Chen*, Chao Li*, Chongyang Zhong, Wangmeng Xiang, Yifeng Geng, Xuansong Xie / Institute for Intelligent Computing, Alibaba Group

That isn’t why I think this kind of tech is terrifying. I say that this app is scary because of the implications of how far AI has progressed. AI is still mostly just a buzzword used to describe any advancements we’re seeing in computing right now. But that doesn’t discount the progress we’re seeing from multiple app makers around the world or the concerns over AI’s threat to humankind.

ReplaceAnything and other AI replacement apps like it are as bad as these kinds of apps will ever be. They’re only going to get better and more fluid at what they do going forward. So, the fact that we can even see this happening now shows that one day, you’ll be able to replace anything, and it will be almost impossible to tell that it isn’t a real image.

The only hope we have against that is that we’ll see systems meant to detect these kinds of things, similar to how we’ve seen systems that can detect ChatGPT documents.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.