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Nvidia-backed startup Synthesia unveils AI avatars that can be generated from text – NBC New York

  • AI startup Synthesia on Thursday announced the launch of its ‘Expressive Avatars’: AI-generated digital avatars that can convey human emotions including happiness, sadness and frustration.
  • Synthesia, which is backed by US chip giant Nvidia, raised $90 million from investors last year at a valuation of about $1 billion.

Nvidia-backed artificial intelligence company Synthesia on Thursday unveiled a new wave of AI-generated digital avatars that can convey human emotions using a user’s text input.

The company said its “Expressive Avatars” can blur the lines between the virtual world and real characters. It aims to eliminate cameras, microphones, actors, lengthy edits and other costs from the professional video production process. Synthesia has a studio in London, where actors read scripts in front of a green screen to train the system.

In one demonstration, the company showed three lines of text being inserted into its platform – “I’m happy. I am sad. I’m frustrated” – after which the AI-generated actor in the video responded by reading the text in the tone of each associated emotion.

According to Synthesia, the company’s technology is used by more than 55,000 companies, including half of the Fortune 100, to create digital avatars for corporate presentations and training videos.

Founded in 2017, Synthesia raised $90 million from investors last year at a valuation of around $1 billion, making it one of Britain’s more recent AI “unicorn” companies. Accel, Kleiner Perkins, GV, FirstMark Capital and MMC are also shareholders.

The company raised concerns about how its videos could be used to create fake news content, saying publishers would have to sign up as business customers to create synthetic avatars. Content created using this technology is vetted by moderators.

Synthesia does not disclose prices for its business customers.

The company also requires all its new customers to undergo a thorough Know Your Customer process, similar to that of the banking industry, which helps prevent bad actors from creating fake company profiles to spread disinformation.

Synthesia said it is already preparing for the upcoming global elections and has implemented a range of controls to ensure its platform is not misused by hostile actors seeking to manipulate the outcome of various votes.

The company is also part of the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity – an organization of AI companies that aims to implement content references and digital ‘watermarking’ of AI-generated content to ensure viewers know what they are watching , was created by artificial intelligence and not by a human.