Recently, Microsoft patented the creation of an AI chatbot for a specific person
, whether they were alive or not. Now, a genealogy company called MyHeritage has partnered with deep learning
and image processing company D-ID to create something called “Deep Nostalgia.” This technology can bring a person's ancestors back to life by running a process that upscales, sharpens, and animates any image uploaded.
Announced at RootsTech Connect 2021, the world’s largest genealogy conference, “Deep Nostalgia” is a licensed technology that uses D-ID’s AI
Face Platform in the backend. Essentially, MyHeritage filmed people for a basic set of motions which could then be paired with still photos to animate said photos. You can see what the so-called “driver” video looks like paired with a still image brought to life below.
Gilad Japhet, the CEO and founder of MyHeritage, explained that “Seeing our ancestors’ faces come to life through video reenactment deepens our connection to our family history and is simply breathtaking.” It is also simultaneously a little unnerving, but perhaps that is due in part to the images falling into the uncanny valley
. This occurs when people subconsciously know something is off but cannot quite place it. Either way, “the results can be controversial and it’s hard to stay indifferent to this technology,” as the “Deep Nostalgia” FAQ
Interestingly, while there is no voice technology in the “Deep Nostalgia” platform, MyHeritage used it to create an ad with a colorized and animated Abe Lincoln, who explained the platform on his laptop. It is rather interesting to see how this looks, as it is slightly off-putting, but if you get over the initial oddity, it is not all that bad. You can also see what photos look like when they are animated in MyHeritage’s tweet below, which looks a lot better than the Abe Lincoln video.
Overall, this technology is a bit bizarre, but it is also fascinating at the same time. Seeing family members emote rather than only exist in still images could potentially make people feel more connected to their ancestors. In any case, let us know if you tried out the “Deep Nostalgia” and what you think of this tech in the comments below.