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Microsoft AI tool transforms photos into realistic talking and singing videos

Microsoft AI tool transforms photos

Microsoft Research Asia has introduced a new experimental AI Tool named VASA-1. This tool is capable of taking a still image of a person, or a drawing of one, along with an existing audio file, and then generating a lifelike talking face in real-time.

VASA-1 new AI Tool can produce facial expressions, head motions, and the appropriate lip movements to synchronize with speech or music. The researchers have uploaded numerous examples on the project page, demonstrating results that are convincing enough to potentially deceive viewers into believing they are real.

Although upon closer examination, the lip and head motions in the examples may still appear somewhat robotic and not perfectly synchronized, it’s evident that the technology could be exploited to easily create deepfake videos of real individuals.

Recognizing this risk, the researchers have opted not to release an online demo, API, product, or any additional implementation details until they are confident that the technology will be used responsibly and in compliance with regulations.

However, they have not specified if they plan to incorporate safeguards to prevent malicious actors from utilizing the tool for unethical purposes, such as creating deepfake pornography or spreading misinformation.

Despite the potential for misuse, the researchers highlight several benefits of their technology. They suggest it could contribute to educational equity and enhance accessibility for individuals with communication difficulties by providing them with an avatar capable of speaking on their behalf.

Furthermore, they propose that VASA-1 could offer companionship and therapeutic assistance to those in need, potentially being used in programs that feature AI characters for interactive communication.

According to the paper accompanying the announcement, VASA-1 was trained using the VoxCeleb2 Dataset, which includes over 1 million utterances from 6,112 celebrities extracted from YouTube videos.

Although the tool was trained on real faces, it can also operate on artistic images, as demonstrated by combining a photo of the Mona Lisa with an audio file of Anne Hathaway’s rendition of Lil Wayne’s Paparazzi. The amusing result is worth watching, even for those skeptical of the potential benefits of such technology.