- Hollywood stars are having their digital likenesses copyrighted and managed by talent agencies, but we should all be able to take control of our own digital IDs, argues Metaphysic CEO Tom Graham.
- AI is going to change content production profoundly, but may not necessarily force an exodus of jobs.
- Generative AI will soon be able to capture our life experiences with the fidelity of reality itself.
Generative AI is going to profoundly change the way in which we create content, “because ultimately it is a hundred times cheaper than using 3D modeling and traditional VFX and setting up a camera,” said Tom Graham, the CEO of Metaphysic, in a keynote delivery at TED 2023 in Vancouver and in conversation with Jesus Diaz at Fast Company.
Evidence of this is happening today. Metaphysic, for instance, has developed an AI technology to capture the biometric AI profiles of any human to deepfake them in real time. The company signed an agreement with talent agency CAA to create AI-powered biometric models of its clients.
READ MORE: Metaphysic partners with CAA to develop generative AI for creative artists (Fast Company)
That includes Tom Hanks, who stars in the new Robert Zemeckis film Here.
“We did a lot of de-aging of the characters because the movie covers their entire lifetimes. It’s both happening live on set while they’re actually acting, and then obviously it comes out in the movie and looks amazing,” Graham explains.
“Our partnership with CAA enables actors to own and control their data from the real world — their hyperreal identities [the biometric AI model made of photographic information captured in extremely high definition].”
Graham said it would mean that while you would still have to contract with the real Tom Hanks, “maybe Tom Hanks wouldn’t have to turn up on set to actually film.”
He said, “That’s definitely happening today, particularly in advertisements that involve sports figures, who have way less time to be in content than, say, actors. There are lots of applications in which we are beginning to decouple human performance from the physical locality and the time.”
All of this means that there’s a need to “empower” individuals to own and control their real-world data.
“We have agency over our bodies in the real world and our private spaces. People can’t come into our homes,” Graham said. “We need to extend that set of rights into a future that’s powered by generative AI. We need to democratize control over reality. Because if the means of production are controlled by big tech companies, then it’s the opposite of democratic norms and institutions that we experience today [in the physical world].”
For the record, Graham claims here that his own company has no interest in owning our data. “But we are the people who are definitely going to be pushing this discussion forward, trying to create tools and institutions to empower individuals.”
He also thinks that it’s only a short matter of time before generative AI is able to spit out hyper-realistic video content.
“I would say two years from now it will be super accessible and at the level of full video where you really struggle to tell the difference with reality. It’s a very short period of time for us to prepare ourselves both psychologically as individuals and as governments and regulators.”
However, while industry jobs will change Graham does not think there will be an imminent bloodbath.
“I honestly think that there’ll be more people hired to create the content of telling stories than there are today. What will be interesting, however, is how that works with unions and collective action.”
He added, “I think that the biggest category of job growth for the future of generative AI will be people who capture data from the real world and make that accessible to large AI models. If you think about what’s inside those models today, it’s not very good.
“We need to bring a thousandfold more data into those models to really be able to do stuff with the finesse that filmmakers want to do today. People who contribute to stock photography today will just migrate to contributing to these models in exactly the same business model.”
He ends the conversation with a prophesy that was previously imagined in “The Entire History of You” episode of Black Mirror.
“You can capture data from your experiences in the real world,” Graham said. “Maybe it’s your kid’s fifth birthday party. In the future, you can have that major event in your life in your catalog of life events, download it, render it out with AI, and fully relive that experience with exactly the same fidelity of the experience you lived the first time you were there. That’s a lot of what we’re talking about.”