back to article Techie sues ex-bosses, claims their AI avatar tech was faked – and he was allegedly beaten up after crying foul

An engineer is suing Pinscreen, a startup that supposedly uses AI to generate cartoon avatars of people, claiming he was illegally fired and assaulted after confronting the CEO about its allegedly faked technology. In a court document filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Iman Sadeghi accused his former employer …

  1. WolfFan Silver badge

    Should be easy to prove, one way or another. Submit a few avatars and have a close look. If they’ve been faked up, it’ll show. If the CFO did indeed get injured, there should be a medical report, and for those kind of injuries, a police report. Ditto if m’man got injured. And, frankly, if m’man did indeed injure the CFO, the question becomes why was he not restrained until the cops arrived? One or both are lying their little behinds off.

  2. Sceptic Tank

    Needs work

    Talk about bad hair days! But whatever the real story is, the avatars are ghastly. Their program needs serious work.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Needs work

      "Off with their wigs!" said the Queen of Hearts.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Needs work

      the avatars are ghastly

      I don't know - that wild-eyed stare is pretty amusing. If I had to look at "avatars", those would be a better choice than many of the ones I've seen. And better than photographs of some of my interlocutors, I can tell you.

      Also, what if the user is in fact a ghast? That's an untapped market.

      1. not.known@this.address

        Re: Needs work

        "Also, what if the user is in fact a ghast? That's an untapped market."

        I see a Gug, I see a Ghast, is Lovecraft now mainstream? At last!

        (Drat, I wanted a Shoggoth but all I got was this giant penguin. Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!)

  3. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Totes legit

    Can't rotoscope but it can correctly model an avatar with hair for the unseen part of a head.

  4. Herring`

    Clearly a serious business

    Automatic generation of cartoon versions of people is the next big frontier of human endeavour - hence the high pressure. Isn't it a great time to be alive?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Clearly a serious business

      Excactly! This is such an obvious multi-billion dollar generating idea, no wonder the fools smart folk at Softbank invested in it.

  5. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    I knew startups were tough work, but never realised they were violently so.

    P.S. Anyone who keeps personal data of any importance on a works machine is asking for trouble.

    1. Brandon 2

      Re: Nasty

      Yikes. He should have been ready to walk out the door with nothing but his birthday suit prior to any meeting with the CEO if he suspected him of fraud.

    2. Orv

      Re: Nasty

      I suspect by "personal data" he really meant "incriminating evidence."

  6. Tigra 07

    Why was personal data on the company laptop?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The word "personal" might be a clue here: perhaps it's none of your business!

      Personally I always travel with four laptops: one for stuff relating to my current job, except correspondence with HR, of course, one for academic stuff like reviewing conference papers, one for my work on free software projects, and one for cat videos and photos from friends and family. And I never get data onto the wrong laptop, ever.

      1. 2Nick3

        "Personally I always travel with four laptops..."

        I bet the people behind you in the security line at the airport love you for that!

      2. jason 7

        No backup laptop for each of those? No safety net...ballsy!

    2. 2Nick3

      "Why was personal data on the company laptop?"

      My thoughts too - in the US your work machine belongs to the company, and most companies have a policy that it is not for personal use. A startup may not have that in place, but since he came from Google I can't believe he hadn't been living and working under that policy before.

      1. Orv

        Still, no need to assault the guy. Just wipe it by remote control. I assume a laptop with data that vital to the company would have tracking and remote-erase capability, right? And be fully backed up on-site?

  7. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    "Our company laptop ... contained sensitive company source code. No one assaulted him.”

    Stay away! I'm packing source code!!

    1. fobobob

      Type softly, and carry a big assembler?

  8. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Clarification needed!

    "In a court document filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, in the US, Iman Sadeghi, accused his former employer Pinscreen of submitting bogus images and results to SIGGRAPH, a computer graphics conference, and lied to investors."

    Does this statement allege Pinscreen lied to investors (whereupon it should read 'and of lying...') or does it allege Sadeghi lied to investors (which is what the current text literally means)?

  9. adam payne

    Sadeghi said he would return the laptop after he had retrieved some personal data from it, and later tried to leave Pinscreen’s offices.

    Personal data on a company laptop, no just no.

  10. Dan Wilkie

    Those avatars they submitted are so lifelike. I particularly like the way the Ryan Gosling one looks like a giant freakish skull boss from a mid 90s video game, just less pixely

  11. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Disappointed in the headline

    Super Cali pugilistic tech bros are litigious.

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

      Re: Disappointed in the headline

      Doesn't quite scan. Try: "Super Cali puglistic tech bros found to be litigious."

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Disappointed in the headline

        Doesn't quite scan.

        Eh? The original has 14 syllables in the first line. So does mine. You're at 16. (I'm using the US pronunciation of "litigious", which is three syllables, the "-gious" just g-schwa-s.)

  12. Bucky 2

    Certainly no Daryl Hannah

    The software did not do good hair.

    He was hired specifically for his ability to do good hair.

    Presentations were fictionalized against the belief that he would make the software do good hair.

    He did not make the software do good hair.

    He tried to take a work laptop out of the building after he was fired.

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