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Now pictures can talk with a new Microsoft AI Tool

The line between reality and illusion is blurring thanks to Microsoft’s latest AI tool. Known as VASA-1, this technology transforms a still photo of a person’s face into a lifelike animated video, where they appear to sing or speak.

Microsoft claims that VASA-1 synchronizes lip movements with sound so precisely that it gives the impression the person has truly come to life. For example, even the enigmatic Mona Lisa starts to rhyme in an American accent.

While Microsoft keeps the technology private, they acknowledge its potential for misuse in impersonating humans. VASA-1 works by capturing a still image of a face, whether it’s a photograph of a real person or a character from art, and then synchronizing it with speech to create a convincing animation.

Trained on a database of facial expressions, the AI can animate the still image while the speech is spoken in real-time, creating realistic movements and expressions.

According to Microsoft researchers, VASA-1 represents a breakthrough in generating lifelike talking faces for virtual characters, enabling real-time interactions that mimic human conversational behaviors.

They emphasize that the technology can convey a wide range of emotions and facial nuances, contributing to the perception of realism and liveliness.

However, there are concerns about potential fraud, as this technology could be used to deceive individuals online. ESET security specialist Jake Moore warns that “seeing is most definitely not believing anymore” and urges caution in accepting correspondence as genuine.

While Microsoft insists that VASA-1 is not intended for misleading or deceptive purposes, they are aware of the possibility for misuse. They express interest in using the technology to detect forgeries and oppose any behavior that creates misleading or harmful content.

Despite current limitations, Microsoft acknowledges that AI is rapidly advancing and aims to bridge the gap to achieve the authenticity of real videos.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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