We don’t exist here

Active project

A few months ago, graphics card maker NVIDIA published a paper in which they explained how they extended an algorithm from 2014 to create photo-realistic portraits that are, when observed casually, indistinguishable from the real thing. When thoroughly investigated, many of the resulting images still appear flawless.

A few days ago, (Former?) Uber engineer Phillip Wang (probably this is his LinkedIn account) implemented a version of the NVIDIA algorithm that publishes a new face at the click of a mouse at thispersondoesnotexist.com.

I strung a few APIs together and created an accompanying Twitter account at @wedontexisthere.

Once an hour, an image is picked up from Wang’s website. The image is pushed through a facial recognition system to identify whether it’s a man or a woman. Then, via behindthename.com, a random name that matches the gender is attached to the image, which is followed by also connecting the person to a location pulled from Wikipedia. I played around with attaching the non-existent locations created by @unchartedatlas, but it turns out that Twitter has recently made it increasingly difficult to obtain content from their platform. (In short, they rejected my request for accessing Twitter programmatically.)

Then, the result is posted to Twitter.

As an aside, I threw together the same implementation for @ceci_chat, which tweets cats that do not exist.


In September 2019, the face recognition API I was using, FaceX, ended its free tier. I moved to Microsoft Azure, which gives the bonus of also estimating the age of the person in a photo.


In April 2020, the Twitter account reached 10.000 followers.

Related:  Twitter/FML