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Can AI imitate your handwriting?

Answer: Yes.

Closeup of a hand holding a pen over an application form about to write on it.
Artificial intelligence has proved effective at imitating a lot of other things that humans can do, so it’s really no surprise that it has now come for your handwriting. A research team at the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence in Abu Dhabi have developed a program that can effectively emulate a person’s individual handwriting.

All it needs is to look at a few paragraphs first, and then people “could not distinguish the mimicked handwriting from the actual handwriting,” said Salman Khan, one of the researchers. Right now it only works in English, but the team has envisioned several future use cases like interpreting illegible handwriting.

They are also aware of all the potential nefarious uses of such a tool, which is part of the reason why it is not available to the public. The team, which recently received a patent for the system, has said they will work on tools to detect when it has been used for nefarious purposes such as forgery.

“We are very cautious about it because it could be misused,” said researcher Rao Muhammad Anwer. “Handwriting represents a person’s identity, so we are thinking carefully about this before deploying it.”