‘AI Howie Mandel’ by DeepBrain AI Joins Growing Cast of Synthetic Celebrities
Howie Mandel and virtual human developer DeepBrain AI have launched an interactive, synthetic version of the America’s Got Talent host. ‘AI Howie’ replicates how the real Mandel looks, speaks, and moves, allowing for realistic videos and even real-time interactions with his digital counterpart in web browsers, metaverse virtual worlds, or hologram booths like the Proto kiosk in the video above. Mandel is the latest addition to the growing ranks of synthetic celebrities expanding their careers using platforms like DeepBrain.
DeepBrain filmed a long interview with Mandel over the course of a day to gather enough training data for its AI to learn how to simulate him visually and vocally. The model incorporates hand movement, accent, and every other detail captured in the course of the interviews. Notably, Mandel insisted on wearing his signature sunglasses, something no previous DeepBrain virtual human wore. The developers had to design and program the AI to understand how to mimic putting on and wearing the sunglasses, making Mandel the inadvertent catalyst for upgrading the platform. The finished avatar is now available as an option in DeepBrain’s AI studio, where a script of both words and movements can be input to produce a video performed by the synthetic Mandel like the other avatars used as marketers, news anchors, virtual bank tellers, educators, and other roles.
“I am equally thrilled, excited, and terrified to finally have the ability of showing up and doing things without going anywhere or doing anything,” Mandel said. “Thank you, DeepBrain.”
AI Howie can also operate as an interactive character, able to answer questions and share stories when asked, as seen in the video up top. Mandel collaborated with Proto over the summer, becoming an advisor to the maker of what the company refers to as “holoportation” machines. The kiosks can support live remote appearances or interactive virtual beings as with AI Howie and the new digital Sam Walton built by StoryFile for Walmart’s museum. DeepBrain and Proto aren’t Mandel’s only recent experiences with virtual versions of himself. He got to watch digital versions of himself and his AGT co-hosts perform with a virtual Elvis built by synthetic media startup and contestant Metaphysic.
AI Howie is DeepBrain’s first American celebrity, but the South Korean developer already counts multiple Asia-based news anchors and Premier League soccer star Son Heung-Min among its avatars. Current South Korean president Yoon Suk-yeol even used a DeepBrain replica during his campaign for office. And DeepBrain is hardly alone in seeing how celebrities might like to have digital versions of themselves available. Soul Machines has produced a digital clone of professional golfer Jack Nicklaus (albeit one looking several decades younger) as well as basketball star Carmelo Anthony. Meanwhile, StoryFile already built a digital William Shatner, Ed Asner, and other celebrities before producing Walton. And Metaphysic was most famous for a virtual Tom Cruise before auditioning for AGT. Mandel marks the ongoing adoption of synthetic media and could end up boosting DeepBrain’s presence in the market.
“Our vision is to humanize digital experiences and empower creative teams to generate immersive content at scale,” DeepBrain AI CEO Eric Jang said. “Working with Howie Mandel was a fun experience, and we are excited to see how the AI Howie collaboration will connect with his fans worldwide.”