While many fear a future where AI-generated media is indistinguishable from traditional media, destroying society and/or civilization, we’re not there yet. Exhibit A comes in the form of a surreal AI-generated beer ad that went viral over the weekend.
Titled “Synthetic Summer,” the 30-second clip first appeared on Instagram about a week ago, created by Helen Power and Chris Boyle for a London-based production company called Privateisland.tv. The pair could not be reached for comment before this story was published, but judging by the look of the video, it appears they likely created it using Runway’s new Gen-2 AI model, which can create short videos based on written prompts. such as Stable Diffusion can create still images.
In the clip, set to the crowd-pleasing track and Smash Mouth’s “All Star,” we see human impersonators partying at a stereotypical backyard barbecue, occasionally physically merging with impressionistic beer vats. Women laugh, jaws alight. Beer glasses turn into beer cans. Flaming grills reach columnar fire tornado status and arc across the yard. It’s a surreal vision of hell that’s simultaneously familiar and impressively alien.
Why is it so strange? Currently, AI video generators are still primitive. While their creators train the models, they work from a much smaller source set than still image AI synthesis models, and the models are significantly more computationally expensive to run. The impressionistic view of beer advertising probably comes from absorbing the essence of real beer advertising in the Gen-2 dataset. Runway did not disclose the data set used to train the Gen-2, but in a paper for the Gen-1 (an earlier model) it cited “an internal data set of 240 million images and 6.4 million video custom data sets.” collection”.
We’ve experimented with Gen-2 (which is currently in closed testing), and even creating weird alien-like videos still requires human tenacity, going through and rejecting multiple generations to even get a good result. Even then, the resulting clip lasts only a few seconds. In the case of Synthetic Summer, Privateisland.tv created the clips, selected the best ones, and spliced the clips together, adding music and sound effects.
But wait, beer isn’t the only product being fictitiously promoted by AI for memetic purposes. On April 24, someone called “Pizza Later”. on Twitter A mostly AI-generated video for a fictional restaurant called the Pepperoni Hug Spot, featuring warped videos of people eating pizza created by Runway’s Gen-2. Also, its creator is reported created the script with GPT-4, used Midjourney for stills, and voiceover by Eleven Labs. They put it all together with Adobe after the consequences.
Definitely wasted 3 hours of my life making this today… Everything is AI from VO to video to images. Assembled in After Effects. More information below. pic.twitter.com/CXv6gWM8gj
— Pizza Later (@Pizza_Later) April 24, 2023
Both human-initiated and human-assembled, these pieces show that generative AI still has a long way to go before it can autonomously dazzle the masses with society-changing memes. Humans are still at the helm of these extraterrestrial works, and from that we can take a semblance of potential comfort. Maybe.
Still, no video can match the purity and majesty of AI-generated Will Smith eating spaghetti, which will live forever in our hearts as our first AI-generated video meme nightmare.