The firm said that the technology doesn’t include speech to avoid the creation of “deepfake people”.(Twitter / @KS1729 / @AdamRutherford)
The firm said that the technology doesn’t include speech to avoid the creation of “deepfake people”.(Twitter / @KS1729 / @AdamRutherford)

MyHeritage offers new AI tool to turn photos of the dead into ‘creepy’ videos

  • The firm admitted that the results of the feature can be controversial, adding that it’s “hard to stay indifferent to this technology.”
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kunal Gaurav, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 09:54 PM IST

Genealogy website MyHeritage has unveiled a new tool, called DeepNostalgia, based on artificial intelligence (AI) that animates the faces in photographs. According to MyHeritage, the site has licensed the technology from an Israeli company D-ID that specialises in video reenactment using “deep learning”. The tool uses several drivers prepared by MyHeritage to animate the faces in photographs.

“Each driver is a video consisting of a fixed sequence of movements and gestures. Deep Nostalgia can very accurately apply the drivers to a face in your still photo, creating a short video that you can share with your friends and family. The driver guides the movements in the animation so you can see your ancestors smile, blink, and turn their heads,” says the website.

Since the feature requires a high-resolution face to apply the animation, MyHeritage has combined it with a photo enhancer to increase the resolution and sharpen the faces of small and blurry images, as is the case with old and historical photographs. The firm said that the technology doesn’t include speech to avoid the creation of “deepfake people”, however, they did create a voice for a reanimated Abraham Lincoln, the former president of the United States.

Here’s the video:

Read | TV network creates deepfake version of Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas speech, people share mixed reactions

In its FAQs about the technology, the company admitted that the results of the feature can be controversial, adding that it’s “hard to stay indifferent to this technology.” “Some people love the Deep Nostalgia feature and consider it magical, while others find it creepy and dislike it,” the firm wrote. It has also requested people to use the feature in their own historical photos and not on photos featuring living people without their consent.

Meanwhile, social media users have been sharing reanimated videos, which many have deemed unnerving, using the tool on the photographs of historical figures. They have shared the reanimated videos of Indian freedom fighter Bhagat Singh, philosopher Aurobindo Ghosh, and American scientist Rosalind Franklin among others.

Here are some of the videos shared on social media:


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