MyHeritage Deep Nostalgia deceased animations

Occurred: February 2021

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The launch of 'Deep Nostalgia', an AI system that enables users to imitate a person in a photograph, has drawn concerns about its use of unethical purposes. 

Developed with Israeli AI firm D-ID, geneaology firm MyHeritage's Deep Nostalgia uses artificial intelligence to animate images so that they smile, wink, nod, and move their heads from side to side.

Reaction to the tool has been mixed. Some describe the results as 'amazing' and 'emotional', while others see it as 'spooky', 'creepy', and 'unethical'. Photographs of deceased and living people can be animated using Deep Nostalgia.

MyHeritage told the BBC that it did not include speech 'in order to prevent abuse, such as the creation of deepfake videos of living people'.

In March 2022, MyHeritage introduced LiveStory, which enables users to animate their creations through vocal storytelling by using deep learning algorithms that draw on a custom set of over 140 voices in 31 languages.


Operator: MyHeritage

Developer: D-ID

Country: UK

Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts

Purpose: Imitate ancestors
Technology: Deepfake - video, audio; Generative adversarial network (GAN); Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning; Text-to-speech

Issue: Ethics; Impersonation
Transparency: Privacy

Page info
Type: Issue
Published: February 2021
Last updated: November 2023