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What 15 Historical Figures Really Looked Like According To A.I.

Updated October 21, 2020 18.1k votes 2.3k voters 124.7k views15 items

List RulesVote up the A.I. reconstructions that most vividly bring historical and legendary characters to life.

Computers have for a while now been able to generate images of people who do not exist - wholly original agglomerations of human features made by combining vast repositories of photo data. Artbreeder is one program capable of generating such images.

But one doesn't only have to use these types of software to make people who have never existed. They can also be fed portraits of historical (or legendary) characters to provide a more realistic conception of what they might have looked like in the flesh. (It should be noted that the result is not some omniscient A.I. declaration of what a historical person must have looked like, but an extrapolation from available portraiture.)

Digital artist and photographer Bas "ganbrood" Uterwijk has been doing just this, and posting the results on Instagram. Some of them are quite striking, so we've assembled a small gallery of his most impressive AI-generated portraits. (While most of these are historical characters, a few are mythological or semi-mythological characters from art, which means they are probably actually realistic depictions of models from centuries past.)

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