By Chris King • 26 February 2021 • 18:07
New AI Tool Brings Images Of Dead Relatives Back To Life.
image: commons wikimedia
NEW AI Tool Brings Images Of Dead Relatives Back To Life with animated images and facial expressions
Gilad Japhet is the founder of ‘MyHeritage’, an online genealogy company, and now, earlier this week, developed in conjunction with Israeli computer vision firm D-ID, they have launched their new feature, ‘Deep Nostalgia’, which allows users to turn stills into short videos showing the person in the photograph smiling, winking and nodding.
The facial expressions used in the feature are apparently based on those of employees of the company, and the technology uses deep learning algorithms to animate images with facial expressions.
Mr Japhet said in a statement, “Seeing our beloved ancestors’ faces come to life lets us imagine how they might have been in reality, and provides a profound new way of connecting to our family history”.
To show what this new technology can do, company employees took to Twitter today to share animated images of their deceased relatives, with Jenny Hawran commenting, “Takes my breath away. This is my grandfather who died when I was eight. @MyHeritage brought him back to life. Absolutely crazy”.
Erica Cervini though described this new AI tool as “spooky” and said it raised ethical questions, tweeting, “The photos are enough. The dead have no say in this”, with professor of psychology, Eaine Kaske, at the University of Wolverhampton, author of a book on the ‘digital afterlife’ commenting that while Deep Nostalgia was not necessarily “problematic”, it “sat at the top of a slippery slope”.
Adding, “When people start overwriting history or sort of animating the past, you wonder where that ends up”.
Rafi Mendelsohn, their public relations director stated, “The Deep Nostalgia feature includes hard-coded animations that are intentionally without any speech and therefore cannot be used to fake any content or deliver any message”.
Mr Mendelsohn also pointed out that using photos of a living person without their consent was a breach of the company’s terms and conditions, with all their videos clearly marked with AI symbols to differentiate them from authentic recordings, “It is our ethical responsibility to mark such synthetic videos clearly and differentiate them from real videos,” he said.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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