Is Facebook’s new AI text tool amazing or scary?

8:01 PM


January 19, 2022 4:44 PM


Over several months, we’ve witnessed excellent deepfakes, most of which involve actor’s heads being replaced by the might of AI. However, the next piece of AI includes something totally different: typography.


Facebook’s new TextStyleBrush tool is an AI research project that can replicate the style of text in a photo using only a single word. It implies that everything from handwriting to unique fonts may be reproduced with startling precision.

TextStyleBrush, unlike other AI systems, is the first self-supervised AI model that can replace “text in pictures of both handwriting and scenes using a single sample word,” according to Facebook.

At first glance, the technology appears to be quite remarkable. Not only does the tool accurately imitate the typeface of the original text in the samples above, but it also seems to insert it smoothly in position on the original background. One of the most obvious potential advantages is the ability to translate text in real-time while maintaining the original appearance.

But, like with all deepfakes, it’s a little scary. We’ve previously heard that our favorite movies may one day have retroactively inserted advertisements, and we’ve seen this exact technology used to change the text on, say, billboards. That, along with the fact that we’re talking about Facebook, makes it a bit uncomfortable.

However, Facebook is keen to emphasize the tool’s potential for good. “By sharing the capabilities, methods, and results of this research,” the company says, “we hope to stimulate dialogue and research into detecting potential misuse of this type of technology, such as deepfake text attacks – a key, a growing problem in the AI industry.”

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However, as Facebook says, this is currently “only a research project.” It will most likely be some time before such a strong AI tool makes its way into the mainstream. For the time being, we’ll have to make do with actor head swaps.

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