"Failure to Launch"?

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Along with half a million other people, I logged onto Twitter at the designated hour to hear Elon Musk help Ron DeSantis announce his run for U.S. President. After about half an hour of  noises, silences, and puzzling graphics, I gave up — too early to catch the restart on a different account.

This event was generally covered as an embarrassing failure, with Twitter tags like #DeSaster and #FailureToLaunch. A few hours later, I checked again, and was able to find the Twitter Spaces recording of the rebooted event — which I found less entertaining than the initial parade of glitches, alas. But I also found this:

The second part:

I'll leave the satirical/political content of these tweets for others — what impresses me is the quality of the fake voices, facial movements, and lip syncing. Things have really improved since I first worked in the 1970s on speech synthesis constructed from real person's voices, and in the early 2000s on gestural synthesis for avatar videos!

The YouTube version notes that "This is Parody created with AI. Tutorials coming soon." I'll be interested to see what voice and video generation software the author is using.


  1. Annie Gottlieb said,

    May 25, 2023 @ 7:28 am

    If you just watch it with the sound off, the mouth movements are very unnatural.

  2. Benjamin E. Orsatti said,

    May 26, 2023 @ 6:54 am


    That's it! I think you put your finger on it. It plunges us into the "uncanny valley" (see Wikipedia entry on same) because it's _almost_ there. What's missing? My guess would be jaw movements — only the lips and chin really "move".

  3. Jarek Weckwerth said,

    May 26, 2023 @ 7:17 am

    For me, it's the way the heads move without any relation to the rhythm of speech / rhetoric structure. There's this slow random floating that is typical of, let's say, imperfect NPC animation in e.g. games, and is particularly jarring where Elon Musk speaks at quite a fast rate. You can check out the YouTube channel Loczniki to see this re-enacted by real humans with somewhat hilarious results.

  4. Jarek Weckwerth said,

    May 26, 2023 @ 7:26 am

    E.g. here https://youtube.com/shorts/nn_R2uqMVDM?feature=share
    or here https://youtube.com/shorts/gDCNA0d5UkA?feature=share.

  5. Pamela said,

    June 3, 2023 @ 8:47 am

    how do you pronounce DeSaster?

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