I often say that the only way to finish all the chores I have in a day is to clone myself. Well, now I can do it, sort of. Hour One is a company that lets you create a “digital clone” of yourself. This way you can create videos, tutorials, even do online job interviews or any kind of presentation without actually being there.
Hour One presented the technology to the world in collaboration with YouTuber Taryn Southern. They created an AI clone of her, which is the one you can see in the video above. For a bit of behind the scenes, you can take a look at this one:
The process behind cloning someone digitally sounds relatively simple. You’ll need a little bit of time in front of the camera though, but it only took Taryn seven minutes. Compared to countless videos she could make out of the result, that’s nothing. What’s more, her Ai character speaks different languages and it can even sing. This way, she can create more varied content and create it in many different languages. All she needs to do is submit the text that her AI character will read.
While this technology reminds me of deepfake, it’s not the same. With deepfakes, you can put someone else’s face on an already existing video of someone else. To create this digital clone, you need input from a real person and from there you can create multiple videos that look as if they’re talking. You can create completely new videos with the digital character instead of filming someone else and adding a different face to the footage.
Just like deepfake, digital cloning isn’t quite there yet, at least not all the time. Some parts of the footage look completely realistic, but in others, you can see that something is off. It’s usually visible in the lips as they don’t always perfectly sync with the words. But again, just like deepfake – the technology will only become better and more sophisticated with time.
The AI Taryn jokingly says that she can now relaunch her YouTube channel and create videos “without the real Taryn having to shower or leave her bed.” I don’t know, if I can’t leave my bed and take a shower it means it’s high time for meds and psychotherapy, but to each their own. Joke aside, it could come in handy for YouTubers, vloggers, even TV anchors. The possibilities are almost endless, but it also has a downside.
A real person is needed to create a digital copy of them, so this is comforting in a way. You can just digitally clone someone out of thin air. However, if anyone other than Taryn gets access to her AI clone, they could submit any text and make it look as if she said it. The possibilities of misuse are endless hereto. But then again – the same thing can be done with deepfake technology, and I remember already seeing some examples. Useful technology in the wrong hands is always a terrible thing.
I’m both intrigued and freaked out by digital cloning, but I’m nevertheless curious to see where it will go and how it will be used. It’s already possible to get a digital clone of your own. So if you’re more intrigued than you are afraid – you can apply here and get an AI version of yourself. I’d rather have a real Dunja clone to do the housework and grocery shopping so I can do my art projects in peace, but I guess we’re still pretty far from that.