First, technology found a way to fake voice of real people, making them say whatever its creator(s) wanted them to say. Then we saw how Deepfakes could fake a person’s action. After that we learned that with AI and machine learning, technology can generate realistic looking people, bring Salvador Dali back to life (granted, this one had an actor involved in the process), and even creating non-existence people, complete body and all and moves too. Now, here’s another prove that technological is getting creepier by the day.
Vice recently reported that researchers at the Samsung AI Center in Moscow have developed a technology that can animate highly realistic portraits with just a few or, in some instances, a single image. The results, if you are going to be picky, are not mind-blowing given the amount of artifact the results bear. They are nevertheless convincing enough and suitably creepy. If down with learning the details, you can read the paper, Few-Shot Adversarial Learning of Realistic Neural Talking Head Models, published on the preprint server arXiv.
Obviously, if one or few images could be so realistic, you can only imagine the realism if they are more resources (known as training examples) available. But what really makes this technology so impressive is, it does not simply cut-and-paste a face and learning from a catalog of expressions like Deepfakes and generative adversarial networks does. Instead, Few-Shot Adversarial Learning uses facial features common across humans to manipulate the new face. In other words, it learns the the appearance of the person and using what it knows about human expressions and blends the two together.
What’s even more mind-blowing is, it is able to generate the talking head in a new view angle even if the angle is not present in the training examples. While at this point, the results have visible stitching and artifacts, it is a matter of time before this technology is perfected and when that happens, we will be truly wondering what is real and what’s not every.single.time. If you ask me, this development is both to be celebrate and cheered, and also be wary about at the same time. Here, have a look at the video of this new development in action.
Images: YouTube (Egor Zakharov).