South Korean company develops application to “clone” celebrities

Interact on the cell phone camera with the avatar of a famous player or actress, the boyfriend who lives far away or, why not, a deceased relative. A South Korean company makes this happen with an application that blends artificial intelligence and 3D technology.

“It all started as an idea to be able to include celebrities in videos and photos captured with the smartphone,” Elrois, the company that developed this product called “With me” in its offices, told Efe Agency. south of Seoul.

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The insanity that the so-called “idols” (K-pop stars or popular telenovelas) awakened in South Korea led Elrois, founded in 2013, to work on creating an application that would in principle be planned in English and for a global audience.

Although the celebrities were the origin of the idea, the development team began to think that it would also be fun to use “With me” to be able to insert in photos, for example, “a friend who could not come to a trip or a party, “they explain.

“So I thought about my grandmother, who passed away recently, and commented that it would be great to scan your photos so that you can put them into current images,” comments the development team’s Lim Eun-jin.

The group adopted the latter idea and published it on their development blog on the internet without thinking that the concept would get even stronger among the public and would generate debate.

“People started commenting on the network that looks like an app intended for an episode of ‘Black Mirror’ (British TV series that raises dystopian stories about the use of new technologies yet to be invented)!” Adds Lim between laughs.

Whether it’s to resurrect the dead or to appear kissing a famous singer, “With me” will be available to smartphone users later this year, says Kwak Ji-hoon, manager of the planning team.

The application uses a 3D scan, to which is added what they call an equipment system – a three-dimensional “skeleton” that is used as the basis for animating the person or object scanned – and an artificial intelligence (AI) program.

Kwak says that in order to create an avatar, it is possible to use a 3D scanning device (including those that already exist on some high-end phones or that can be purchased as an application) and then send it to the company’s website and then download it to the phone.

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The user then enters his name and draws a “selfie” so that the avatar’s AI is able to address him and identify him through facial recognition.

The result is a virtual clone that is able to guess the user’s age surprisingly.

With a click on the screen you can converse with the avatar to ask for a kiss, say “I love you” or also communicate that we are angry with him.

The digital clone understands the voice commands in an instant and responds by joining the fists, getting angry (also in English) or posing with an arched arm to form a heart with the user’s own arm (a typical gesture among young Asian couples in photographs).

“There are a lot of applications to create avatars, but we are the first company to market the possibility of interacting with one of these clones,” says Kwak, whose company hopes to use this technology in other fields (such as in video games) to two or three years.

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