Tired of your old images? Think they need some sprucing up? In seconds, you, too, can have a brand new portfolio. All you have to do is type in your name to the Pro-folio website and within seconds, you have a bright shiny new portfolio of images
stolen borrowed temporarily from the Internet. Don’t like the images in your new portfolio, no worries, the Pro-folio algorithm can create as many as 690,903,803 trillion fake identities, so you have a few to choose from.
Royal Academy of Art design student, Sures Kumar, has written a program for his Scientific Hoax project, that can take information from open source to create a portfolio complete with your (real) name, (fake) educational background and (someone else’s) images. Using images pulled from Behance- without permission I might add- the “entire point of the project” is to fool people, according to Kumar.
“There will be a point where we won’t be able to differentiate a real human identity from a machine generated one,” Kumar writes via an article by FastCompany. “By creating a model prototype of such identity creating machine, Pro-Folio also aims to question possible motivations to create such identities.”
With the rampant plagiarism that is permeating our industry, can this tool be used for anything good? Kumar urges people to see the deeper meaning behind his project. In a comment made in defense of Pro-folio, Kumar states, “The idea is not to steal and make money or create real people’s portfolios. The portfolios created through this website are completely fictional even though it has people’s name on it.” (Um, so, using someone else’s images without permission and calling them your own is called…what exactly?)
Pro-folio will rank the images based on your location and user behavior so that it can pull the proper images to make your faux portfolio more believable.
“The idea is to show that a machine (few lines of code) can pick up information from random sources, make sense of it and mash it up in a meaningful way to fool us ‘humans’. I would like the audience to think about machine-generated identities and their influence in our society. If this project disturbs you, it’s the right time to think “what sort of systems do we have in place online to differentiate a real human identity from a machine generated one.” Can we stop large scale organizations from doing this? Theoretically anyone with the right infrastructure can scrap the entire internet for intelligence to come up with extremely believable identities. My intention is to raise such questions among the audiences and possibly encourage discussion.”
Sure, he brings up a great point. It’s a scary place where machines can do the thinking, (Hello, Siri – well, kind of. Siri can’t seem to understand a word I am saying, and has no sense of direction). But did we really need an algorithm to prove that to us? One that takes someone else’s images to do so? Perhaps instead of shedding light on the issue, maybe he just paved the way for someone with dishonest intentions with a road map of how easily it can be done? I can’t think of one way Pro-folio can be used for good, but I can think of a few trillion ways, 690,903,803 to be exact, it might be used for evil.
Sadly, I cannot show off my new portfolio as the site is “undergoing some technical changes,” but when it’s back up, Watch out, World! I’m gonna wow you with all “my” new images.