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Tottenham 1-1 Fulham: player ratings to the theme of people who don’t exist

CONTENT WARNING: skip this if you’re squeamish about computer generated body horror.

Intel Pentium Pro microprocessor, 1995. Photo by SSPL/Getty Images

Anyone who’s been reading Cartilage Free Captain for more than a couple of years knows that I have a fascination (that probably borders on unhealthy) with machine learning. It’s what led to the Recurrently Generated Football League, the player ratings generated by a text prediction algorithm trained on the writing of Barney Ronay, the Recurrently Generated Tottenham Hotspur, and lots more.

Guess who’s back on his computer generated bulls—t? But this time it’s not my work. Machine learning has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years to the point where not only can computers generate blocks of text, but they can now also generate whole people. The twitter account @wedontexisthere is one of my favorite follows: it posts computer generated photos of humans who aren’t real — they’re entirely fictional, created by a computer trained on hundreds of thousands of portraits of actual people.

This attractive woman doesn’t exist in real life, but the photorealism is staggering. She certainly looks like a real person, but her face (and her personal info in the tweet) is entirely generated. It’s wild.

But that’s not what I’m interested in. I’m more interested in when the machine fails. And yes, that does happen. The account also posts photos of generated people with... errors. Mistakes. These things both show the promise and limitations of computer generated photos at this time. Those mistakes can also be hilarious and/or terrifying.

So for today’s theme, we are looking at the notable goofs from @wedontexisthere — the goofy errors in generated people that computers thought were okay representations of actual human beings. Here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings to the theme of People Who Do Not (Or Should Not) Exist.

5 stars: Deep Hitler

OK, so this photo is actually great. Decent looking dude, great smile. Look at that hair! Nothing weird going on here. But did I mention that the names and personal information here are also generated by a computer? That’s the only way I can see someone in the world ever being named “Deep Hitler.” On the other hand, I’m also not sure there’s anything more grotesquely awesome than a idea of a 23 year old dude from Argentina named “Deep Hitler.” So there’s that. (Parents: don’t name your kid “Deep Hitler.”)

Tanguy Ndombele (Community — 3.5): Put aside for a second that Tanguy tired and declined before being subbed off in the second half. That performance was magnificent. 0.5 xA, 8 progressive passes, 3 tackles, 7 progressive carries, and an interception. It was one of the best individual performances by any Tottenham player this season.

4.5 stars: Themistocles Schroeder

Here’s the thing about computers: they don’t really understand what a human being actually IS. Machine learning algorithms look for patterns in whatever they’re trained on and then try and recreate those patterns when asked to do so. Because of that, the computer doesn’t really know the difference between, say, someone’s hair and a hat. It’s just data. And because humans like to wear things on their heads, especially when their photos are taken, when you feed thousands of photos of people to the program you can end up with some really... hilarious... results... and some pretty... awesome... hats. Like this one. Some might call that a wig. I would say this is not a wig — Mr. Themistocles Schroeder appears to be wearing a hat made out of someone else’s hair.

Sergio Reguilon (Community — 4.0): Was that Reggie’s best match in a Spurs shirt? Felt like it. He was so much fun going forward, and that cross to Kane’s head was dope.

4 stars: Silke Abbatangelo

I love this photo. Not just because the computer decided to add what is recognizably a hoodie to this woman, but because the algorithm has clearly seen enough photos of people wearing glasses to know a) how to recreate them, b) that there are things behind them, and c) that there’s a reflection that shows something else. I have no idea what that scene is in the reflection of her glasses — is it a restaurant? Some kind of illuminated night time home? A parallel dimension? And why is it night in her reflection but daytime in the photo? Only the computer knows.

Harry Kane (Community — 3.5): Thought he had another goal or two in him in this match and his finishing was just a touch off, but the one he scored was fantastic. Again was pretty great with his passing and distribution.

Serge Aurier (Community — 3.0): Serge’s offensive output was a big reason why we were so dominant in the first half and he didn’t have any obvious errors defensively. Thought he was quite good.

3.5 stars: Meirion Maina

This excellent gentleman is clearly an unused extra from Red Dead Redemption 2. I know this because he both looks like a grizzled cowboy and also has a literal bullet hole in his recurrently generated hat that you can see sky through. He is also Polish, because why the hell not.

Hugo Lloris (Community — 3.0): Hugo had a couple of good stops in this match and couldn’t do anything about the goal.

Pierre Hojbjerg (Community — 3.0): Was it one of his best performances ever? Nope. But I thought Hojbjerg had another pretty solid outing. The midfield was a mess, but I can’t really put it down to anything specific that he did. He looked fine to my eyes. Just don’t shoot the ball from there, Pierre.

Son Heung-Min (Community — 2.5): Look, we know Sonny got let down by his finishing on Wednesday, but that shouldn’t detract from the fact that he was getting into dangerous positions and taking good shots all night. Areola got hands to two of his attempts, and Son plonked an unlucky one off the post. I’m docking him a half star for not scoring, but y’all are way too harsh.

3 stars: Nuka Paget

Now we’re getting to the good stuff. I’m trying to wrack my brain to think of what might cause a computer to not only give this woman yellow growths at the corners of her mouth but also a triple chin. The pattern repeats in the background, too. Computers are weird, man.

Eric Dier (Community — 2.5): The back line got overrun at times in the second half, but I thought Eric was in pretty good positions and read the match well for most of it. You know, apart from Cavailero that one time. But the match was chaotic, and Eric did mostly fine.

Moussa Sissoko (Community — 2.5): He was out of position and not who I’d have chosen at right wing, but hey, Moussa had some pretty nifty moments, none better than that amazing dribble into the box early in the 2nd half.

Erik Lamela (Community — 2.5): Set up the winning goal that was called back as offside, and was his usual amazing slide-tackley murdery self.

Jose Mourinho (Community — 2.0): I mean, sure — criticize the decision to start Moussa Sissoko at right wing, I guess, but I can’t say he didn’t get his tactics right. Spurs were great in the first half and definitely didn’t sit back to protect a lead in the second half. Hard to pinpoint exactly what went wrong, but apart from leaving a substitution on the bench I can’t really criticize Mourinho too much. And this is ME saying this.

2.5 stars: Bogomil Grześkiewicz (“Border Demons”)

Trawl through the archives of @wedontexisthere and you’ll find all sorts of weird artifacts in the photos, sometimes in the background and sometimes not. But what seems to pop up semi-infrequently when there are weird artifacts in the images is this phenomenon that followers of the account call “border demons.” For whatever reason, in some of the generated images have malformed, human-(ish)... shapes on the sides of the images. Usually they’re part way off the screen, poking what passes for heads into the frame like Hell’s own photobomb. They may be attached to the subject like conjoined twins. They may just be floating blogs of protoflesh with a mouth-like appendage (or as one comment to that photo called it, “E-girl and her podcaster boyfriend”). They appear to be visually related to the actual subject, just... misshapen, like the beta version. When they show up in the feed, they always end up being the most liked, RTd, and commented, because Twitter is all about grotesquerie, apparently. What they also always are is extremely unsettling. I love them.

Davinson Sanchez (Community — 2.5): Did some good things in the back line but it felt like he got spun around too often in the second half to rank up with Eric. Lookman had his way with him a couple of times.

Harry Winks (Community — 2.5): The utter tire-fire of the midfield in the second half feels more like a group effort and no, I can’t pinpoint any one thing that Winksy did to contribute to it, so fine, accuse me of bias. But let’s be honest, the dude has priors here.

1 star: Marisol Chaudhary

Greetings from the Void. If this is a computer’s vision of humanity, we’re doomed.

No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as Marisol Chaudhary. And thank God for that.

Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating

Carlos Vinicius