Is there anything that technology cannot make possible? Recently, social media users went to town over a new AI-powered app that allowed them to bring still photographs to life, sparking a wave of such photo-turned-videos across platforms. A Reddit user on Monday posted a video of an octogenarian reacting to a visual of his deceased wife, Lola, created on MyHeritage online family tree service’s Deep Nostalgia AI feature that uses video re-enactment technology to animate faces in still photos. The man, sitting in a big chair, is handed a laptop with the animated black-and-white picture of his wife, who, thanks to the app, smiles, nods, blinks, and tilts her head.
“Oh my god, holy smokes”, was the first reaction of the man when he saw the video on the screen. “She is alive,” he added, without taking his eyes off a young Lola.
The person recording the video asks, “Isn’t it amazing, the technology?”
“I can’t believe it,” he says, overwhelmed, takes off his spectacles and dabs his eyes. “It’s her!” The man then says that last November, the couple would have been married for 75 years. He then shakes his head and says, “And I still love her”.
The video has been upvoted nearly 11,000 times on the platform and other users were in awe of it. Click here to watch it.
“I dread this feeling. I don’t want to be left behind by my partner. But I don’t want to leave them behind either,” wrote a user.
Another user recalled how painful it was to watch his mother try to go on living without his father. “I can’t fathom my partner or myself having to do this one day,” the person said.
Speaking of the old man’s loss, a user said, “It’s a hard thing to go through but we all have to figure out how to face this difficult aspect of life.”
“True love is amazing. My grandparents were married for 55 years, and they never failed to put each other first in life. Makes me teary eyed,” was the response of another person.
Deep Nostalgia, the feature used for the video, uses AI to add facial animations to portrait photographs, bringing them to life. Using the website or mobile app, users can choose from a set of pre-recorded animations that can be transferred onto their still photos. The service warns that its technology should not be used to try creating “deep fake” videos of public figures or anyone else without their permission. You can crop faces from group shots but cannot yet animate multiple people in one frame. A watermark will be applied to indicate that such animations are generated artificially.
Users can sign up for a free account to use Deep Nostalgia but will be limited to a small number of animations unless they purchase a subscription plan. Animations can easily be posted to social media and exported as MP4 files. The technology has gone viral on social media, with people posting their versions of Harry Potter-style animated portraits.
Is OnePlus 9R old wine in a new bottle — or something more? We discussed this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Later (starting at 23:00), we talk about the new OnePlus Watch. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.