Artificial Intelligence Hotel Videos

Day 15 of 30 Day AI Challenge – Reanimating The Dead

For those just joining us, every day during this challenge, I’m going to try and do something different or better, using currently available Artificial Intelligence tools.

It’s Day 15 of the #30DayAIChallenge and it’s time to tackle something inevitable but decidedly creepy – Reanimating the Dead (not literally, in a Frankenstein’s Monster kind of way, of course…only in the digital world).

Today we take on the topic of family…and remembering those we’ve loved and lost. For those of us who aren’t lucky enough to have as many pictures or videos of loved ones as we’d like, it can be tempting prospect to use new tech (especially AI) to help feel just a little closer to them. While there are plenty of competing tools out there that allow you to ‘reanimate’ loved ones, I’m taking on two specific ones that seem to do the job eerily well:

  1. MyHeritage’s Deep Nostalgia™ is a technology that can bring still photos to life by animating the faces in them. It creates high-quality and realistic video footage that appears as if the people in the photo are moving and living in the moment.
  2. ElevenLabs, founded by ex Google and Palantir team members, the company’s specialty is creating speech that sounds like it comes from a real human using artificial intelligence and deep learning techniques. They also make software that can turn text into speech.

First, let’s start with Deep Nostalgia…it’s one tool of many offered by MyHeritage, which helps users create their own family trees, run a DNA test to pin down their ancestry, etc. Deep Nostalgia is a tool that allows you to upload a photo of a dead relative and is pretty nifty (and creepy)…you can also select different adult or child male/female voices (somewhat limited to Western accents) and create a video using a script you provide.

I ran a couple of experiments…the first with a non-existent elderly Indian lady (courtesy Midjourney) to see how well it works. The results were pretty good:

Given the limited range of voices, I then investigated what other options existed, to create a more natural voice that I wanted. Enter ElevenLabs.

ElevenLab’s VoiceLab is an AI toolkit that helps you create new synthetic voices from scratch or clone an existing voice that you have the rights to. You’re the only one who can access the voices you create. You can design entirely new voices by adjusting their parameters, and each voice you create is randomly generated, making it unique.

Additionally, you can clone a voice from a clean recording that contains one speaker and is over a minute long without any background noise. While this feature currently works best with US-English accents, it isn’t inconceivable that it’ll expand its capabilities and perhaps allow users to replicate the voices of long gone relatives?

For my second experiment, I ‘reanimated’ a photo of another non-existent MidJourney ‘relative’ using Deep Nostalgia – see original output below…

…and then used an AI generated Indian male voice from ElevenLabs (without a very discernible accent, though that’s an option)

and combined the two…Voila – here’s the result:

Hopefully you can see from these experiments that the tech is getting pretty good…any new services that allow you to upload both an image and an audio recording using the underlying tech used above will likely be able to easily clone the latter to create a believable reanimation (that we’ll then learn to love…or hate).

To wrap up today’s challenge, let me end with a brief reflection. The potential for AI to bring long lost relatives back to “life” through images, videos, and audio clippings is truly a fascinating, but perhaps also polarizing concept. On one hand, it can provide a sense of comfort and solace to those grieving the loss of a loved one, allowing them to maintain a connection with their cherished memories. On the other hand, we can’t overlook the ‘creepy’ factor and the potential for misuse, which could lead to emotional manipulation and even ethical quandaries.

As we reflect on yet another AI-enabled marvel, it’s crucial that we strike a balance between embracing its benefits and being mindful of the possible pitfalls. We have to tread carefully, ensuring that we respect the dignity and privacy of the deceased and their families while also allowing room for healing and connection. Ultimately, it is our responsibility as a society to navigate the complexities of this rapidly evolving space, fostering innovation while doing our utmost to preserve our humanity.

While not directly connected to the above topic, I’ll leave you today with another service that’s feels like it’s headed right towards a future outlined in a Black Mirror episode (The Entire History of You): promises to give humans ‘perfect memory’. Will we all be using such services in the future? If so…reanimation may no longer be necessary, as we’ll probably want other services that help us forget!

0 comments on “Day 15 of 30 Day AI Challenge – Reanimating The Dead

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: