The genealogy site MyHeritage is offering a new service called “Deep Nostalgia,” where old family photos are given life, through animation.
This creepy phenomenon brings once-frozen faces blinking, head-turning, and smiling in the animated clips, which have gone viral on Twitter.
The Guardian reports an AI-based image manipulation technique called “deep learning” automatically animates faces in photos uploaded to the system. In addition to animating old family photos, celebrity pictures, drawings and illustrations are able to undergo animated transformation.
“Some people love the Deep Nostalgia feature and consider it magical, while others find it creepy and dislike it. Indeed, the results can be controversial and it’s hard to stay indifferent to this technology. This feature is intended for nostalgic use, that is, to bring beloved ancestors back to life. Our driver videos don’t include speech in order to prevent abuse of this, such as the creation of ‘deep fake’ videos of living people,” MyHeritage said on their site.
Like most “deepfakes,” (a name for technology that maps a person’s face on to video footage of another) the service is quite proficient at seamlessly animating features and capturing expressions. However, this technology isn’t perfect, as Twitter users were quick to point out.
I just ran the poster for A Nightmare on Elm Street through the Deep Nostalgia tool to see what it would look like to bring @LangenkampH's face to life... and yep, pretty sure I'm not gonna sleep tonight, or ever again pic.twitter.com/dcBcGAQ7w3— Abner+ (@abnerpastoll) February 28, 2021
So I ran a film still of Nicolas Cage through MyHeritage's Deep Nostalgia thing. pic.twitter.com/y0kq0MtLIp— Mark Yarm (@markyarm) February 28, 2021
As if this statue of Cristiano Renaldo wasn’t cursed enough:
So I wanted to know how the recent #DeepLearning facial animations services do with busts and decided to give that botched Christiano Ronaldo statue a spin. What ensued can only be summarised as #DeepNostalgia --> #DeeplyDisturbed. Sweet dreams! ;) pic.twitter.com/g2J0LV5DAi— Jan Smeddinck 🇪🇺🌍 (@smeddinck) February 27, 2021
My great great grandmother, Louisa Roakes (1871-1942), animated using the Deep Nostalgia tool on @MyHeritage #Genealogy #MyHeritage #DeepNostalgia pic.twitter.com/mb9b9uQdwi— Nathan Dylan Goodwin (@NathanDGoodwin) February 25, 2021
Modern technology - breathing life into historical figures is somewhat unsettling while also incredibly fascinating. I wish I could hear his Thunderous voice! Frederick Douglass brought to life via #DeepNostalgia pic.twitter.com/CFORUVMK6B— GenTutor (@gen_tutor) February 28, 2021
Gregor Mendel, reanimated by running him through the Deep Nostalgia algorithm. Would definitely have a beer in the abbey with him. https://t.co/woiL6zhgcK pic.twitter.com/gE7UQwHGQc— Tim Stearns (@StearnsLab) February 26, 2021
Deep Nostalgia offers a free trial and is user-friendly.