New workplace technology Often, you start your life as a help for both status symbols and productivity. The first car phone and PowerPoint presentations closed the deal and demonstrated user influence.
Some partners of accounting giant EY, formerly known as Ernst & Young, are now testing new workplace gimmicks for the era of artificial intelligence. They enliven client presentations and regular emails with synthetic talking head-style video clips starring virtual body doubles created with AI software. This is a corporate spin of technology commonly known as deepfake.
The quest for technology from British startup Synthesia begins with a pandemic breaking down more traditional ways to strengthen business relationships. Golf and long lunches are tricky or impossible. Zoom calls and PDFs are too routine.
EY partners use doubles in their emails to enhance their presentations. One of our non-Japanese-speaking partners used a translation feature built into Synthesia’s technology to display a native-speaking AI avatar for a Japanese client.
“We use it to differentiate and strengthen people,” says Jared Reeder, who works for EY on a team that provides creative and technical assistance to partners. In the last few months, he has specialized in creating AI doubles for his colleagues. “In contrast to sending an email and saying” Friday isn’t there yet, “you can look at me and hear my voice,” he says.
Clips are openly presented as a composite, not as a real video intended to fool the viewer. Reeder states that it has proven to be an effective way to invigorate everyday interactions with clients. “It’s like bringing a puppy to the camera,” he says. “They warm up to it.”
New corporate tools need new terminology. EY calls these virtual double ARIs because of their artificial reality identities, not deepfake. After all, it’s the latest example of the commercialization of AI-generated images and audio. This is a technical concept that first became widely known in 2017, when synthetic and pornographic clips of Hollywood actors began to be distributed online. Since then, Deepfake has been steadily compelling, commercial and easy to create.
This technology is used in stock photo customization, model generation to showcase new clothing, and traditional Hollywood productions. Lucasfilm recently hired a prominent member of the prosperous online community of amateur deep fakers, who gained millions of views with a Star Wars clip reshaped clip. Nvidia, whose graphics chips support many AI projects, revealed last week that a recent keynote by CEO Jensen Huang was forged with the help of machine learning.
Enhance EY’s ARI Synthesia has developed a set of tools for creating synthetic videos. Its clients include advertising company WPP, which uses technology that blows up in-house messaging in different languages without the need for multiple video shoots. EY has helped some consulting clients create synthetic clips for internal announcements.