Streamers on platforms like Twitch and YouTube have to juggle a lot of elements when making content: from controlling lighting and sound to moderating their comments and keeping their audience engaged with witty banter. All this means it was only going to be so long before a tech company weighed in with a bizarre solution to help content creators seem more attentive whilst they handle their livestreams. And I'm officially weirded out.
Utilising deepfake technology, Nvidia has developed a mod that will track the streamer's eyes and make them maintain eye contact – even if the user isn't looking at the camera. It's weird, and the internet doesn't know how to feel about it. You can see just how (scarily) impressive this kind of technology is in our pick of the top deepfake examples.
NVIDIA has created a new AI-based tool for streamers that allows them to maintain eye contact with their audience while also reading the chatbox[NVIDIA Broadcast 1.4 adds Eye Contact: https://t.co/9BMmSX8xoY][📹 Jousef Murad]pic.twitter.com/Apnt7ShA31January 23, 2023
This latest broadcast 1.4 update (opens in new tab) from Nvidia introduces a mode called Eye Contact. As the name suggests, this feature utilises deepfake and AI technology to track the streamer's face and overlay their eyes with a version that stares unnervingly into the camera. It will simulate the subject's natural eye colour whilst implementing blinks to (try) and make it not seem not so uncanny.
Unsurprisingly, the internet is divided with one Twitter commenter saying "That's really... freaky.". Another concerned user rightfully points out "At this rate - note, we are just getting started - we won’t know what is real anymore." Of course there are some upsides as one genius says "great for catching a quick nap during meetings."
I'll admit this technology is impressive and certainly could relieve streamers of feeling so pressured to stay fully engaged with audiences. However, there's still a very odd look to the mod after an extended period and I'm not a fan of prolonged eye contact at the best of times. There's no telling exactly how this technology will develop in the future, especially considering AI isn't always the most accurate when it comes to replicating human features.
Either way, it's seemingly here to stay as Nvidia roll out BETA testing so you can have a go with it yourself – as long as you don't mind staring into the soul of whoever is watching your videos.