Great, AI Can Forge Your Handwriting Now and I’m Concerned!

AI tool that can now forge human handwriting
In Short
  • Researchers from Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence developed a new AI handwriting replicator tool.
  • The tool uses a handwritten text image generation (HWT) approach to work human handwriting out and forge it.
  • It is not public yet, and researchers are trying to develop mechanisms for the prevention of its use in nefarious activities.

Ever since ChatGPT came into existence, the world has had quite its share of AI, with deepfake apps and websites gradually coming into existence. Then, we saw AI headshot generators and some of the best AI apps bunch for smartphones.

If that all wasn’t weird enough, you can now add a new kind of AI tech to this list. AI can now mimic human handwriting! Yes, you read that correctly. An AI tool can quite literally learn your handwriting, and that too by just analyzing a few paragraphs of it.

Researchers from Abu Dhabi’s MBZUAI (Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence) have developed this piece of AI tech. What started off as a mere means to satiate curiosity turned out to be a full-scale project, which ultimately led to the invention of this tool.

How Did They Go About It?

In a press release revealed after this discovery, the researchers talk about it. Before getting into developing the tool, the team of four researchers from MBZUAI decided to dig a little deeper. What they found out was that previously, handwriting copying tools used the generative adversarial network (GAN) machine learning technique. While this used to work well, it was not the best at it. It failed to capture the essence of human handwriting.

Each and every single one of us has a unique handwriting style. Not all use the same letter spacing, composition, and styling. There is more to human handwriting than meets the eye, as it is also the sole identity or personality of each human being.

So, the researchers decided to go ahead and play around with vision transformers to make it more accurate. This was also the very first time that vision transformers were being used to copy human handwriting.

“To mimic someone’s handwriting style, we want to look at the whole text, and only then will we start to understand how the writer ligated characters, how the writer connected letters or spaced words.” – Fahad Khan, Fellow Researcher

With that idea in place, they used the vision transformers to follow a handwritten text image generation (HWT) approach. Then, all they had to do was decide on a sample size and put it to the test.

Yes, but How Accurate Is It?

The researchers used three other AI handwriting generators to compare it to their latest findings. Then, they passed it by 100 people to get an idea of what they preferred from among the three. The results were fruitful, for they preferred the latest HWT-based AI handwriting mimicking tool’s results 81% of the time.

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To our surprise, the result of the generated handwriting was quite good. They could not distinguish the mimicked handwriting from the actual handwriting, and it was satisfying to see that kind of validation of the performance. – Salman Khan, Fellow Researcher

While I am in awe of this change, I am also quite scared of what this entails. Forget document forging, this can be used for much more sinister stuff.

Thankfully, the researchers are very much aware of it, and as per their latest interview, they are working towards developing mechanisms to prevent forgery. In addition, they have also stated that the tool can be used for tasks like figuring out a doctor’s handwriting. Let’s be honest about that: if there’s one thing this tool can be useful for, it will be that. I mean, who can read a doctor’s handwriting anyway?

How do you feel about AI now coming for our very handwriting? Let us know in the comments below!

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