Jimmy Kimmel Interviews a Deepfake Version of Himself from 20 Years Ago
Jimmy Kimmel time-traveled to interview his past self thanks to deepfake technology. The late-night host used synthetic media to reproduce a 20-year-old version of himself on TV from his first show to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his show going on air.
The segment started with Kimmel showing a picture of himself when his show began. The image then “glitched” and began moving and talking to the present-day Kimmel. The two discussed the changes in celebrity culture, technology, and the remarkable fact that the show is still on the air.
The show described the tech as a special variation of deepfake tools explicitly created for the show without elaborating on where the technology came from. The transformation of a still image to a moving video could be from synthetic media developer D-ID, who first garnered notice for doing the same thing to vintage photographs. Since then, the company has released an image-to-video platform that combines multiple generative AI models to create synthetic videos and could easily have done the Kimmel segment. It’s also possible that a different company helped make the past version of the host or even that it was produced in-house. The audio aspect is likely pre-recorded lines by Kimmel, judging from the pauses, but if they do it again, there are synthetic audio engines that could reproduce his voice and read out any script or translate a different person’s voice speaking the lines to sound like Kimmel.
The use of deepfake technology for entertainment is now ubiquitous. Synthetic media developer Metaphysic is de-aging Tom Hanks in his upcoming movie and partnering with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) to produce more generative AI tools. Meanwhile, the creators of South Park launched the deepfake AI studio Deep Voodoo, which recently raised $20 million. Deepfake media stars are also the center of the new British show Deep Fake Neighbour Wars. Metaphysic has been building its presence in the entertainment industry since it first drew attention for its deepfake Tom Cruise. The company took fourth place in the most recent season of America’s Got Talent (AGT), concluding by bringing a synthetic version of Elvis Presley to the stage. And Kimmel isn’t the first to experiment with talking to his own past self. While not as elaborate as what the TV show did, an artist used GPT-3 to recreate her younger self for a conversation, though more as a therapy tool than entertainment.