The Disney Corporation is celebrating its 100th anniversary with an innovative touring exhibit using deep fake technology to recreate Walt Disney, and it is leaving some fans skeptical.
- The Disney100: The Exhibition begins its international tour this weekend on February 18 at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, where it will stay open until August. Other exhibits will open in Chicago, Kansas City, Munich, and London and tour through 2028.
- The exhibit will consist of a series of galleries and displays showing original artwork, movie propers, and artifacts, as well as some rare access to behind-the-scenes information about the creation of classic Disney characters.
- The tour features a deep-fake holographic projection of founder Walt Disney, depicted before his death in 1966, that the studio calls “an authentic re-creation” that greets guests to the exhibit, giving a speech about how ideas become a reality.
- The full video of the hologram is available to view here.
Why It’s Important
The reveal of Disney’s “lifelike hologram” of its founder comes in the aftermath of the recent artificial intelligence (AI) push, with the proliferation of Dall-E and ChatGPT creating ethical concerns about how AI can and should be used safely.
Deep-fake technology is a dangerous grey area for AI, given that the technology is close to creating life-like approximations of humans and could be used to harm others.
Disney produced the hologram through a combination of archival footage and audio recordings, using AI to upscale and remix the footage into a high-definition video projection.
Disney fans are giving a mixed reception to it. A handful of online commentators praised it, while others are skeptical of the use of the technology. They say that the projection is uncomfortable to look at, that its lipsyncing is off, and even compare it to Disney’s American President animatronics.
One user says the hologram should be added to Disney World’s Haunted Mansion ride, The Los Angeles Times notes.
“I don’t think of myself as an especially spiritual person, but there’s something about creating a realistic facsimile of a long-dead person and speaking through them like a ventriloquist that feels blasphemous to me,” says one commenter.