AI portraits reveal what a typical resident of each Swiss canton looks like

AI portraits reveal what a typical resident of each Swiss canton looks like

In recent months, artificial intelligence (AI) has become more and more prominent thanks to its rapid development. As the technology gets better and more efficient, many in Switzerland have started to use AI to gain further insight into what the software, and by extension the internet, thinks of the alpine nation, with one using the tech to put a face to 15 Swiss cantons.

Midjourney used to create typical residents of Switzerland

In a post to Reddit, reported by Watson, user biwook said that he had used the artificial intelligence programme Midjourney to create portraits of “typical residents” from each canton of Switzerland. Considering the way the software generates its pictures - largely via machine learning, which is trained on hundreds of thousands of images from the internet - the portraits can provide an insight into how Switzerland and its people are portrayed online and around the world.

“Interestingly, Midjourney assumes that all residents of Switzerland are over 60 years old. That might not be that far from the truth. And women are also in the minority,” biwook noted. Here’s what each canton looked like:

AI Swiss residents range from convincing to downright strange

From “straight out of a Wes Anderson film” to “quite amazing”, netizens praised the portraits for their avant-garde nature. It's also interesting to note that the programme clearly knows a few things about each region; for example, Zurich seems to be riding a tram of some sort, while cantons in the mountains all have backgrounds to match.

In regard to the portraits of people from more metropolitan areas like Basel, Geneva, and Zurich, people thought the bohemian-styled, modern caricatures were “spot on.” "I know him! He actually runs an erotic club in Zurich Niederdorf”, one user joked.

Some AI pictures more accurate than others

However, some pictures were less accurate, with most of the older, less-populous cantons being portrayed in archaic clothing or in weird robes made of symbols and flags. There were also some technical niggles, with one commenter noting that “the man from Neuchâtel is floating in the air!”, while another pointed out that the man from Fribourg looks like he’s about to set sail, not walk down the streets of Murten.

However, out of the more traditional-looking cantons, there were still some very accurate portrayals. For Canton Vaud, for example, one user noted that it is “quite amazing. Maybe a bit archaic in clothes, but otherwise he looks like a stingy old winemaker.”

Thumb image credit: Domenico Fornas /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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