Taryn Southern and Hour One to create first news series hosted by her photoreal digital twin

Taryn Southern, AI artist and award-winning filmmaker, and HourOne, AI video platform, announce they have partnered to produce Is This For Real, a first-of-its-kind news series hosted by Southern’s AI-generated clone.

A show for futurists and the future-curious, Is This For Real will offer a weekly report of the world’s most jaw-dropping science and technology breakthroughs. From lab-grown meat and robot marriages to AI-enhanced art and breakthrough longevity studies, “AI Taryn” and her real life counterpart explore the possibilities and practical implications of these technologies in our daily lives.

“AI Taryn” is the result of a collaborative experiment between Southern and HourOne’s emerging video technology. Today, HourOne uses a proprietary AI-driven process to provide groundbreaking automation to video creation, enabling solutions for presenter-led videos at scale. Not just a novelty, AI clones and synthetic media production represent a growing and exciting opportunity for the video industry. In fact, experts predict that in the next 5-7 years, 90% of content will be synthetic, or generated using computers instead of cameras.

“When the pandemic hit, production all over the world shut down. People were looking for alternate ways to make content and I was curious about what could be produced with AI-generated video,” says Taryn Southern. “Experimenting with AI video production has been similar to working with AI music. It provokes important conversations around the future of identity and trust, and will undoubtedly change the future of production.”

Due to 24-hour news cycles and algorithms that value frequency, digital content creators often comment on the burden of finding more efficient video production processes. Synthetic AI-generated media produced from a real life person’s likeness could offer a novel solution to this problem: now content creators can generate more content and reserve their time and financial resources for other aspects of their business.

In this teaser video for the series, AI Taryn explains the creative possibilities and implications that her AI clone brings, including:

A drastic reduction in the time and cost of video production to a matter of minutes.
The ability to create video without requiring a time-intensive routine to look presentable for the camera (AI Taryn jokes that she can now create new YouTube videos “without the real Taryn having to shower or leave her bed.”)
The benefit of being able to speak in other languages (for instance, AI Taryn speaks German in the video). This can enable Taryn to distribute content to people all over the globe, in their native language. This possibility was untenable when she started her YouTube channel eight years ago.

At the end of the video, Southern documents the process required to create AI Taryn. Using generative artificial intelligence and just 7 minutes of footage in a well lit studio, a clone is created. From there, hundreds of videos can be generated in a matter of minutes, just by submitting text to the platform.

Here’s how it would work at scale: a content creator writes and uploads a script, and minutes later, an AI engine generates a video of their AI clone speaking that script. From there, customized backdrops, graphics, and music can be added.

While this process may not lend itself to all types of content (like comedy, for instance, which relies heavily on performance and timing), it could be highly effective for news formats, for which focus is on timing and the quality of writing and reporting, and other kinds of presenter-led content. In our increasingly virtual work environment, HourOne’s technology is also being applied to e-learning, e-commerce and digital health – places where a human presenter is highly valuable.

“We are really excited to create “AI Taryn” a photoreal digital human, exactly resembling the real Taryn Southern. As her code-based self, AI Taryn can take on all kinds of new skills, such as the ability to speak any language. We’re excited to see how these kinds of capabilities play out in a first-of-its-kind news show, and to demonstrate the next era of presenter-led video,” says Natalie Monbiot, Head of Business at HourOne. “When you shift from using cameras to code, entirely new things are possible.”

Is This For Real?

is currently in development in partnership with HourOne and will be released in summer 2021.

About Taryn Southern

Taryn Southern is an award-winning artist, filmmaker, personality and futurist known for her work at the intersection of emerging technology and human potential. Her work includes: co-directing and producing an award-winning documentary on the future of the brain (Official Selection in the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival), composing the world’s first AI album (Top 100 US Radio Charts), producing an award-winningGoogle VR series (Winner of the AT&T Film Award and Top 20 Women in VR), creating a viral egg freezing campaign (viewed more than 10 million times), and releasing the first Ethereum-based song token (so artists could share song royalties with fans.) A three-time Streamy Awards nominee, Taryn’s work has been featured in Vanity Fair, Billboard, Fast Company, Wired, Forbes, Psychology Today, Harvard Business Review and more.

About Hour One

HourOne is a video transformation company. We replace cameras with code, for the next generation of professional video at scale. We use advanced neural networks, machine learning and audio-visual pipelines to create synthetic characters that look and sound like real people. This way, a single character can deliver thousands of text lines to a video stream which people can interact with. We use a vast cloud infrastructure to maintain those characters, and to generate and edit thousands of videos across business verticals, such as e-learning, digital health and e-commerce. Behind each synthetic character is a real human being. Through contractual arrangements, we have permission to use their likeness in predefined commercial use cases, for which they earn a fee. We clearly label all commercial content as computer-generated, to respect the user’s right to know.