Like many other services, Pro-Folio can create a website for you in seconds.

But Pro-Folio is so kind as to scrape Behance for creative projects, then add them to your site as if they're your work!

It's automated plagiarism, but for a purpose.

The project portends a day when computers can create identities at will by stealing bits of us all.

And there will be no good way for us to spot the fake people from the real ones.

Maybe that sounds unrealistic to you.

But what is Siri other than a very well-programmed fake person?

Hopefully the robots will go easy on us.

But in the meantime, guess who has a fancy new website with a lot of fantastic work to show off!

Co.Design

Create A Fake Artist's Portfolio In Seconds

Just type your name, and Pro-Folio will create your own website full of stolen art. But it’s not just a great prank; it’s the future of identity.

I’ve taken some intense portraits of strangers around the world, developed an ingenious campaign to protect wildlife, penned some fantastic branding for a tequila company, and even found time to render a shiny MP3 player.

You can see all of this and more in my brand new portfolio! But between us, I’ll admit, none of the work is my own.

In fact, my portfolio was made in just a few seconds using Pro-Folio, by Royal College of Art student Sures Kumar. After typing my name in a box, Pro-Folio scrapes public Behance collections--without Behance's permission or knowledge--to borrow the work for my own use. Moments later, their creations are republished on a site that’s generic in every way, except for one important differentiator: My name is on it.

Pro-Folio is quite easily the ultimate tool in turnkey creative plagiarism, with its core algorithm capable of generating 690,903,803 trillion unique fictional identities. The algorithm links names to feasible countries of origin, then pulls appropriate projects to match. Fooling its audience is “the entire point of this project,” Kumar says. But Pro-Folio wasn't created to artificially enhance your resume. Rather, it’s meant to portend a future in which machines generate artificial identities on a whim, and there's nothing any of us can do about it.

Sound like science fiction? Then consider the dry banter of Apple’s Siri, or the pseudo friendliness of one of those automated customer support bots you may have encountered on a random retail site. Even Twitter bots, which respond to keywords you tweet with advertisements, are a form of machine-generated identity. It's not just about artificial intelligence anymore, but artificial personality and identity. Artificial us.

“There will be a point where we won’t be able to differentiate a real human identity from a machine generated one,” Kumar writes. “By creating a model prototype of such identity creating machine, Pro-Folio also aims to question possible motivations to create such identities.”

I see Pro-Folio as the bait for our own drive to be creative, to be seen as not just smart, but the type of genius that births provocative ideas and products. And by taking the cheese, even just to have a good laugh about it, I’m now complicit in the coming era of machine-generated identity. Even though I meant no harm to anyone, I’ve contributed to the problem. The wheels of this new Mark Wilson are in a motion I cannot stop, and within 10 days, Google will index my/his new site.

Will everyone who eventually stumbles across it notice the small disclaimer explaining that the site’s work is not my own? Undoubtedly, no. Kumar says it took his testers an average of five to 10 minutes to figure out his sites were phony. And my portfolio is so great, you’ll probably call me offering work within four.

Try it here.

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14 Comments

  • If you have to pass off other people's work as your own you're obviously not that good in the first place! Users of these types of services would quickly fall apart after their first commission of creative work. It would become painfully apparent to any potential client that the portfolio didn't reflect the aptitude of the designer they thought they were working with.

  • Corinna Resberg

    Yeah, great. Because there isn't enough plagiarism, art theft and work gone uncredited on the internet already. What a brilliant idea to facilitate it for anyone who happens to come across this content. Stop hiding behind the "deeper meaning" you're pretending to care about, and own up to the fact that this is harmful to creators everywhere.

  • Hi Guys, I have been receiving many emails and I can clearly see few confusions in the response. Let me clarify them. Since there is a word limit for comments, I am splitting my response accordingly.

  • The idea is not to steal and make money or create real people’s portfolios. The portfolios created through this website are completely fictional even though it has people’s name on it. You must notice in “about” page, the email id generated and the description of that person changes every time and the person trying to create this fake portfolio has no control over it. Also every time you enter a person’s url like http://www.pro-folio.org/mark-wilson/ it creates a new set of works. Note: all the portfolio details (works and personal info) generated temporarily are stored in the form of cookies in your local computer. This was intentional. So when you clear your browser cookies, you will see a different set of works for the same person. Only if you copy-paste the exact url generated after clicking on a project, you can replicate the same page again. which is what Mark has done in this article.

  • Even this newly created Mark Wilson is a fictional character with the name ‘Mark Wilson’ who was born in Brazil, studied in Stanford blah blah. Real Mark is not taking credit of any of the works.

  • Also I would like to make it clear that I am in no way making it easier for someone to use artist’s images. The created fictional identities are of no use to anyone because expect the name all other details like email, country, education profile wont match with the person who is trying to use this fictional portfolio. So theoretically the person does not exist. Its a FICTIONAL character. Its a cyber machine generated identity. This was intentionally done to make sure people don’t misuse Pro-Folio.

  • The idea is to show that a machine (few lines of code) can pick up information from random sources, make sense of it and mash it up in a meaningful way to fool us “humans”. This is more than just copy-pasting the artist’s images. Imagine tomorrow if there are 300 online portfolios on your name created by various such bots, how do you think your audience can differentiate the machine generated ones from your original one in search results. I want my audience to think about this. In short, I would like the audience to think about machine-generated identities and their influence in our society.

  • If this project disturbs you, its the right time to think “what sort of systems do we have in place online to differentiate a real human identity from a machine generated one”. Can we stop large scale organisations from doing this? Theoretically anyone with the right infrastructure can scrap the entire internet for intelligence to come up with extremely believable identities. My intention is to raise such questions among the audiences and possibly encourage discussion.

    Hope you found this information useful.

  • My God.

    You fools, don't you see? This isn't the obvious case of material plagiarism disguised as art it looks, smells, and tastes like! This is, itself, a meta-art-project! But how meta, I hear you ask?

    First, there's getting people to make these things, which isn't meta; it's really just streamlined plagiarism. So not that.

    Then, there's the deeper meaning of it all, which he talks about, I dunno, I wasn't really sure what he was getting at that was not already pretty plain, so I assume I am just shallow. It must have been pretty deep, though, that he can use it to justify art plagiarism on a potentially large scale. Not meta enough.

    No, the meta, I think, comes from the next layer: seeing how many internet hipsters he can get to sign up for his project in the name of being ironic or artistic, despite the fact that it's probably both illegal and immoral. Yeah. That's pretty meta, man. That's scary meta.