Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, March 15, 2021

A new program can animate old photos. But there's nothing human about artificial intelligence

AIA new wave of technology has surfaced that allows people to animate old photos and bring them to life. These animated images are made possible by Deep Nostalgia, an artificial intelligence program from the genealogy platform MyHeritage. 

"Users are invited to supply old photos of their loved ones, and the program uses deep learning to apply predetermined movements to their facial features. It also makes up for little moments that aren't in the original photo, like the reveal of teeth or the side of a head." 

This new technology has been described as emotional and heart warming on one side and sort of eerie on the other. Seeing family members and ancestors that have passed or even celebrities come to life is definitely fascinating, but admittedly, its a bit scary to. 

There is a natural human response in the brain that responds to "things that are almost human but not quite." This response, often referred to as the uncanny valley, is set off when we see these types of image manipulations. 

This type of response has the effect of putting your different emotions at odds with each other. Often times, the two emotions at odds are love and fear, especially when seeing a deepfake image of your loved ones. 

As expected with new technology, there is likely to be glitches and inconsistencies with likeness and other issues. It will be interesting to see how these things are corrected as the technology develops. 

See AJ Willingham, A new program can animate old photos. But there's nothing human about artificial intelligence, CNN Business, March 10, 2021. 


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