Researchers at the University of Washington have developed an automatic age-progression software programme that automatically produces images showing how a young child's face will change over his or her lifetime.
The software uses data gathered from pictures of thousands of faces, to determine how a person's face shape and appearance will change over time.
Incredibly when researchers compared images of a child generated by the software to actual photos of the child at different ages, they found the pictures produced by the computer were remarkably accurate.
The researchers found that people struggled to identify which of the images were computer generated and which were actual photos of the child.
One of the study's co-authors, Steven Seitz said that the results are "so convincing that people can't distinguish them from reality".
"When shown images of an age-progressed child photo and a photo of the same person as an adult, people are unable to reliably identify which one is the real photo," he said.
The new software can run on a normal computer and takes about 30 seconds to generates results for one person. However it is not yet available to the public.
One of the most common uses for age-progressed images of children is in the search for missing children. Currently, these pictures are usually created manually by an artist who uses photos of the child and family member to predict how they will age.
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