Deepfakes have been getting quite a bit of coverage lately, but most of those stories focus on the negative implications of the technology—or the vaguely disturbing—but there is potential for some pretty amazing things too.
An excellent example of this is a new project of The Dalí Museum: an interactive experience where museum-goers can learn more about Dalí by talking to him.
The project led to a new permanent exhibit throughout the museum called Dalí Lives.
A series of human-sized screens have been placed around the museum that allow patrons to interact with an AI recreation of Dalí himself.
The AI was trained with actual footage of Dalí, and uses his actual words—speaks as he would.
Nathan Shipley, technical director of the project, said:
"In order to actually train this AI to reproduce Dalí's likeness, we started with finding the right footage of Dalí."
"Our system learns exactly what he looks like, and how his mouth moves, and how his eyes move, and his eyebrows and every little detail about what makes Dalí Dalí."
This required an amazing amount of time and effort on the part of the creative team behind Dalí Lives. Hours spent finding the best frames of video for the AI to learn his appearance and mannerisms, and more hours researching his quotes and manner of speaking.
Jeff Goodby, co-chair and partner of advertising agency Goodby Silverstein and Partners, described Dalí Lives:
"This is actually a recreated version of Dalí."
"It's not a person playing Dalí with makeup. It is actually Dalí."
"We're very careful to use his words, so that you learn a lot about what he thought and the way he thought."
You can view amazing footage of the recreation of Dalí below:
Behind the Scenes: Dali Lives youtu.be
This isn't just a video of the artist that plays every time someone presses the button on the screen, it is a series of possible interactions that play out in response to the patrons themselves.
A patron could interact with Dalí Lives multiple times, over multiple visits, without necessarily repeating a conversation.
One thing that is consistent, though, is the experience as patrons exit the exhibit. As they say goodbye to Dalí, he asks them if they would like to take a photo together with him.
If they agree, the image of Dalí produces a smartphone and proceeds to take a selfie with the guests.
This photo will then be sent to them via SMS, an especially creative bit of memorabilia.
Social media response to the announcement of Dalí Lives was mixed, but largely positive.
If you are a fan of Dalí, or of machine learning and AI, it might be time to plan a trip to St. Petersburg, Florida.
Dalí Lives is a permanent exhibit, so he's not going away anytime soon. If you want to visit The Dalí Museum, you can buy tickets on their website.