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Genealogy Website Uses AI Software To Bring Old Photos To Life


A new feature on a genealogy website can bring pictures of your ancestors to life. It's called Deep Nostalgia. It's launched by myheritage.com. You upload a picture, and AI software breathes life into the image.

RAFI MENDELSOHN: It can look at you. It blinks. It smiles. It enables the head to move from side to side. And it, you know, pretty much looks like a normal person as they're posing for an image.


Rafi Mendelsohn is with myheritage.com and says Deep Nostalgia has had nearly 5 million users in its first five days.

MENDELSOHN: What it does is it really brings your ancestors to life in a kind of really wow moment.

KING: People on social media testify it's amazing. It's remarkable. It's kind of creepy.

MENDELSOHN: I think, to some, it is. But on a very initial level, when we see our users interacting with it, we often see the response of, I need to get more images. And so people are contacting their family members. They're trying to find those images in their basement, you know, in storage. And that sparks of conversation and being the gateway into family history.

INSKEEP: Or just a gateway into zaniness. One user animated Michelangelo's famous statue, "David." Somebody else brought a terrified face to life on a movie poster of "A Nightmare On Elm Street." And others couldn't resist using famous paintings.

MENDELSOHN: I don't think I've seen "Mona Lisa" in quite the same way. And I think it's also been applied in quite creative ways, as you sometimes only see on social media. So whatever gets them using it, we're happy.

KING: So who would you want blinking and smiling at you?

(SOUNDBITE OF KINACK SONG, "SHINE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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