back to article Google brains plumb depths of the uncanny valley with latest image-to-video tool

Google has a new AI trick up its sleeve that can animate a still photo using nothing but a recording of a person's speech, and boy is it widening the uncanny valley. Dubbed VLOGGER in a paper [PDF] by a sextet of Google researchers (without any explanation for the name), the tool allegedly doesn't need any per-person training …

  1. druck Silver badge

    But … why?

    Forget the quality of the current images, ask the question; is there any legitimate use for such fakery?

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: But … why?

      The goal is to have AI generating all the stuff that humans might, but without the costs of actually employing anyone. It's an MBA's wildest dream.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: But … why?

      It's research and research doesn't need that kind of justification. But see it as this: this is an assessment of what's possible with "off-the-shelf" techniques at the moment. What can you do with it? And can you detect it?

      1. druck Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: But … why?

        Yes research does need justification, if the only possible use for what they are developing is to mislead and defraud people.

        1. ChrisElvidge Bronze badge

          Re: But … why?

          If research really needed justification there would be no need for the Ignoble awards.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: But … why?

            Hey, would you pass me that sheet of graphene?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Don't make the torment nexus

          And anybody who has named their imaginary basilisk should talk to HR.

          I get the abstract argument that researchers should be free to play with and explore dangerous ideas, but that doesn't work out well. The bounds don't need to be too tight, but they do need to be there. Especially as the researchers almost always look for applications after a discovery, then they try to market those applications. Then the company that bough them decides that they can't bother with any of the ethical considerations because, shareholder value...

          Some lines of research, like some researchers need to be nipped in the bud.

  2. cyberdemon Silver badge

    No need for YouTubers anymore

    The bullshit-laden video can be generated directly from the shitty clickbait thumbnail

    I pity this poor machine for being forced to ingest all the shite there is on YouTube

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Usage: to validate outsourcing?

    Chip maker Qualcomm is looking to create more marketing content for social-media platforms like TikTok. Don McGuire, the company’s chief marketing officer, says he’d likely never get budget approval to hire an army of additional video editors and others needed for such an effort. “I can’t hire enough people to move that fast,” he says. So instead, he has decided to build a new generative-AI creative studio in Mexico City, which is a short flight from Qualcomm’s headquarters in San Diego, but that has a lower cost of living and widespread availability of creative talent. The company plans to hire up to a dozen people there; new AI tools from Adobe and other vendors will allow the marketers to work with 25%-50% greater productivity, reducing the need for massive hiring, McGuire said.

    (1) This is also a downside of WFH for those in the US entering the workforce now. As well as a plus for their alter-ego couterparts stuck in Mexico.

    (2) Judging the worth of advertising is very hard, especially measuring the effects of running Qualcomm ads on TikTok. With a lack of actual good metrics, combining keywords: Outsource + AI = Genius marketing officer.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Khaptain Silver badge

    Very small web presence.

    I am quite happy that I can't find any images of myself on the web . There are other people with the same name , who do have images of themselves posted, so I should be a little safer against whatever wave of ransomware/blackmailing that the usual shitheads will come up with next.

    Some people have a very large part of their lives posted , they really do need some education about web usage .

    1. Bebu Silver badge

      Re: Very small web presence.

      You might be reconstructible from the shadow your absence from the miasma of the web, casts. :)

      I think River Song made a similar observation to the Doctor some time after Souffle Girl had excised all records of him from the shared Dalek consciousness.

      Jests aside, given enough computing resources to analyse every social media post and conversations, emails, blogs, public records and all the rest of the muck on the web I suspect a pretty fair reconstruction of a person who has never had any access to the internet could, in theory, be made.

      1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

        Re: Very small web presence. [Reconstruction from Shadows]

        You might be reconstructible from the shadow your absence from the miasma of the web, casts.

        I think not. Because while a physical shadow has definite edges and shape, a lack-of-information-on-the-web about a person could mean anything, everything, or nothing.

        For example: "Which sports team does Subject X support?" No relevant web-info means that Subject X may support no team whatsoever, or may support the Post Hill Pennywhistles, or may support every team in the greater London area.

  6. NapTime ForTruth

    And here we have the hollow men...

    Clearly, Google ingested Eliott and saw that it was good for their bottom line. Also, to simulate the dried voices of any world leader.

    (With all due apologies to T. S. Eliot, though maybe he was gifted with a sort of indirect prescience):

    We are the hollow men

    We are the stuffed men

    Leaning together

    Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!

    Our dried voices, when

    We whisper together

    Are quiet and meaningless

    As wind in dry grass

    Or rats' feet over broken glass

    In our dry cellar



    This is the way the world ends

    Not with a bang but a whimper.

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