The last few years have seen MASSIVE improvements to AI based image generation models. Today’s best models can do “style transfer,” allowing them to create photo-realistic images from police composite sketches. This tech leverages OpenAI’s CLIP technology, which was then applied and adapted to create StyleGan-Nada, a face-focused, state-of-the-art AI that can be publicly accessed here.
Using StyleGan-Nada, it’s possible to generate photo-realistic renderings from sketches. This is where things start to get potentially dark. Stylegan-Nada can never be more than a reflection of the data it was trained on. Because of this, there are both known and unknown biases that exist within it. The AI’s predictions MUST be taken with extreme caution.
It’s clear that there’s already well warranted cause for concern, with Police already using face recognition AI in conjunction with composite sketches to find suspects.
Given the existing biases inherent in eyewitness testimony, sketch artists themselves, the questions used to gain the suspect descriptions, and more; is utilizing these new AI’s just making things worse by injecting yet more bias?
But what about the counterfactual? What if these AI enhancements could lead to vastly improved eyewitness suspect renderings? What if it led to capture of serial killers? or Terrorists? oh, wait…
Perhaps StyleGan-Nada will enable a new approach all together. The nature of the models enables a process of “exploring the latent space.” Latent space being similar data within the model. This allows for what you see in the gifs, a movement through the latent space in different directions including age, gender, and hair configurations. If used in conjunction with an eyewitness, it seems it could be invaluable in helping to refine an initial sketch based on description alone.
Exploring StyleGan-Nada and Police Composite Sketches
In the following examples, we use StyleGan-Nada to create photorealistic renderings of unsolved murder suspects. Again, please take these renderings with a gigantic grain of salt. They are explorations, not fact.
Biggie Small’s Murderer
Although there has been near constant speculation, the murder of Biggie Smalls remains unsolved. The finger was pointed at Amir Muhammad, also known as Harry Billups, by a jailhouse informant, but this was later found to be weak.
It’s certainly possible the real killer is still at large. Below is the AI rendering of what the suspect may have looked like, and a gif that cycles the image through age/gender progression/regression latent space. Note that the further from the initial image, the less like the composite the rendering appears.
I-70 Serial Killer
The I-70 killer is an unidentified American serial killer who is known to have killed six store clerks in the Midwest in the spring of 1992. His nickname derives from the fact that several of the stores in which his victims worked were located a few miles off of Interstate 70 (I-70). He remains at large.
Delphi Girls Double Murder
An unknown man is being sought in the killings of eighth-graders Abby Williams, 13, and Libby German, 14, who were killed on a hiking path on Feb. 13, 2017. Police released an earlier composite sketch of a different man, later excluded. Below is an updated sketch of the suspect based on additional information.
The killer is still at large.
On Saturday, February 2nd, 2008, a gunman entered the Tinley Park, Illinois, Lane Bryant store shortly after it opened at 10 AM. The man posed as a delivery person before murdering five women and leaving another for dead. There was a witness to the crime, but the suspect remains unknown.
Murder of Suzanne Jovin
21-year-old Suzanne Jovin was stabbed 17 times on December 4th, 1998. The Yale student had just finished a draft of her senior essay on terrorism and spent the day volunteering. The police became laser focused on a person of interest who was later dismissed and the case remains unsolved today.
Lover’s Lane Murders
On August 22, 1990, Cheryl Henry and Andy Atkinson drove to “Lovers Lane” in the woods near Houston. They’ve were never seen alive again.
Cheryl’s body was found underneath a fence. She had been raped and murdered. Andy’s was discovered deceased and tied to a nearby tree. He had been nearly decapitated.
Houston police found DNA , even decades later, no suspects have emerged.
Morgan Nick Missing Person’s Case
Six-year-old Morgan disappeared from a little league field on June 9th, 1995. She has not been seen since. Below is a rendering by StyleGan-Nada, based on the police composite sketch
Dana Bradley Murder
On December 14th, 1981 fourteen-year-old Dana Bradley disappeared from St. John’s Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.
Dana hitchhiked home from a friend’s around 5 pm. Two brothers saw her entering a vehicle described as a four-door 1973 to 1976 Dodge Dart or Plymouth Valiant. Witnesses also provided authorities with a description of the driver, but no suspect has ever been found.