AI Startup Was ‘Magically’ Generating 3D Images Actually Using Humans | Information age

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A man rendering a 3D model of a sneaker on a computer screen

An AI startup claims it can create 3D models from 2D images, but humans are actually doing the work. Photo: Shutterstock

An AI startup that claims to use machine learning to create 3D models in minutes is actually doing much of the work using human artists, according to a new report.

Kaedim, founded in London in 2020, claims to use artificial intelligence to convert a client’s 2D drawing into a 3D image in minutes.

Its founder, Konstantina Psoma, was recently included in Forbes’ 30 under 30 Europe and the company has raised $1.5 million.

But an investigation by 404 Media found that Kaedim uses humans more prominently than the company claims, and sometimes complete conversions in 3D are done from scratch by humans without any AI.

Citing two sources, the report said Kaedim employed numerous people around the world in “quality control” roles and paid them as little as $US1 to $US4 per model.

Sources also said that this is sometimes done without the involvement of machine learning, and that what is produced by AI systems is often of such low quality that it will be “just an unrecognizable blob or something rather than a tree. Example”.

The close involvement of human actors is the opposite of how tech companies used to market their products to consumers.

An archived version of Kaedim’s website from July this year says the company can “magically create custom 3D models in minutes”.

“Stop wasting hours in modeling tools,” the website said. “Create stunning 3D art with nothing but images.”

Psoma has previously claimed that the company is “automating the boring parts” of 3D modeling.

“Our software automatically models the geometry from scratch,” she said Forbes Last year.

“Now anyone can integrate automatic 2D to 3D conversion into their apps, games and Metaverse.”

Following the release of the 404 Media story, the Kaedim website has been updated to acknowledge the role of human actors in the process.

“Kadeem’s machine learning and in-house art team combine to deliver production-quality assets in minutes,” it currently says.

The company has also acknowledged a third stage in its process, after feeding 2D drawings into its AI machine.

After this, “an artist examines your model and makes the necessary changes to make it ready for production”.

The investigation found LinkedIn profiles for former “quality control” workers in Argentina, Indonesia, Ethiopia and Spain.

A job listing posted last year sought applicants to produce “low-quality” 3D images 15 minutes after a client requested them.

The company’s CEO later addressed the issue in a Medium post, saying these workers help train algorithms.

“Our 3D team members are really important to us because they work with our machine learning engineers to provide feedback on our technology and ensure all generations meet our quality standards,” Psoma said in the post.

“They ensure there are no technical flaws in our assets, they check the level of detail-capture of our algorithms and help make improvements where necessary.”

Kaedim charges up to $US1,000 per month for clients looking to use the platform to create 3D images, or $US150 per month for 10 models.

The company now says it has halved the time it takes to create 3D models since last year.

“We are improving our system daily and aim for a fully autonomous release in 2024,” the company said.

“With a fully autonomous generation system, we will be able to provide plans that better target the commercial use case.”

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