Signals #20 – Synthetic Media

Challenge

  • Generating engaging text, audio and video is expensive. You need teams of people and a truckload of talent.

Opportunity

  • Synthetic media is generated, not created. With AI you’ll only need a team of one: generate professional-quality text, audio, images and video from the comfort of your own laptop or smart phone.

Definitions

  • [Pro] Synthetic media = Media produced, manipulated or modified by artificial intelligence / machine learning algorithms.
  • [Pro] Generative adversarial networks (GAN) = Two neural networks compete with each other. The generative network is trying to create content that fools the discriminative network. Error data gets looped back to the system, enabling the generative network to produce iteratively more realistic results, like people that don’t exist.
  • [Pro] Deepfakes = A type of synthetic media where a person’s face in an image or video is replaced with someone else’s likeness. E.g. Jim Carrey acting in the lead role of The Shining.

Actions

  • Generate digital art with GANs. See GANksy. Sell on marketplaces such as OpenSea, Rarible and SuperRare.
  • Accelerate your daily content generation with AI. Copy.ai is for copy text. Flowrite is for emails. Headlime is for landing pages. Beautiful is for pitch decks.
  • [Pro] Leverage virtual influencersin your marketing.
  • [Pro] Generate synthetic data sets for other companies. Synthetaic uses GANs to generate a large number of images to train other AI systems. The company has raised a total of $4.5 million in funding. Another application is producing synthetic brain scans.
  • [Pro] Start a tiny agencyfocusing on generative and synthetic content.
  • [Pro] Investigate the GPT-3 app landscape to see where there are gaps in the market.

Tools

Audio


Photos


Video


Ads/text


Deepfake detection


[Pro] Avatars


[Pro] Other

  • [Pro] Carv3d – Generate realistic facial expressions.
  • [Pro] Headlime – Landing pages and copy text.
  • [Pro] Beautiful.ai – Pitch decks.
  • [Pro] Niches – Social media posts, video ideas and niche ideas.

Pros

  • Saved costs will be enormous. Companies and creators won’t have to spend fortunes to finding the right people, crews, influencers and sets to create professionally looking media.
  • YouTube and Instagram democratized content distribution. Synthetic media tools will democratize content generation.
  • [Pro] Synthetic media makes hyper-personalized entertainment and ads possible.

Cons

  • Trust decay towards synthetic mediais real before we have proper legislation and verifications in place. Faked videos of politicians and using audio to scam companies are risks that have already materialized.
  • Can synthetic content become too realistic? How does the mind respond in case of e.g. ultra gritty and violent imagery?
  • [Pro] IP and copyright issues might become messy. Who will get the profits if a deceased celebrity performs on stage: the creator of the show, his family or both?

Cases

  • Sentinel (based in Estonia) received $1.35 million in seed round funding in late 2020. Sentinel’s approach to deepfake detection is a 4-layer structure: initial, machine learning, audio and frame-by-frame layers.
  • In South Korea a news anchor was temporarily replaced by a deepfake version. The company behind the deepfake is called Moneybrain.
  • Another application of deepfakes is concealing the identities of subjects in sensitive documentaries.
  • [Pro]The number of deepfake videos grew 900% from 2019 to 2020:
    • 8,000 videos in 2018
    • 15,000 videos in 2019
    • 145,000 videos in 2020
    • 63% of these videos were made for entertainment. The number seems to double every 6 months.
  • [Pro] The global generative design market is expected to reach $400 million by 2025.
  • [Pro] Avatarify lets you create your own deepfake videos on your cell phone. 140 million videos were created with the app up to April 2021. The founders estimate that revenue this year will be $10 million.
  • [Pro] Amazon built a digital twin of Snohomish County (a Seattle suburb) to test its Scout delivery robots. The synthetic environment model is accurate to centimeters. It gives a possibility to test out the robots 24/7 without interruptions.
  • [Pro] Instant clothing try-ons could make online fashion shopping a whole lot easier and more comfortable.

Forecast

  • There will be solutions for verified media. We’re already at a stage where it’s often impossible to detect fake media from real media. See Truepic.
  • Chatbots will incorporate more human-like features and evolve into digital people. See Soul Machines.
  • Dying will not be the end of content production for film stars or artists. They will be recreated through CGI or deepfakes.
  • [Pro] In a world where anything can be fake, nothing has to be real. Politicians and other figures of power can exceedingly use this fact to dismiss any unfavorable content as fake. The phenomenon is called the “liar’s dividend“.
  • [Pro] Digital influencers will eventually become indistinguishable from their human counterparts. Current top virtual influencers:
  • [Pro] The model of doing brand collaborations could evolve: influencers could just supply a licence to use brief video shots and a 15-minute audio sample – AI would generate more content based on that. This will give influencers the possibility to multiply their presence.
  • [Pro] Synthetic media marketplaces are established.

Resources

Takeaways

  • High-end media content can be produced with smaller teams and at lower costs as AI-powered tools become more common.
  • The borders between real and virtual influencers will blend and vanish. The same will happen with human and AI-generated content.
  • Media verification will become standard tech as deepfake content will be generated at an accelerating pace.