Paul McCartney’s new video got me thinking: how do you feel about the use of deepfake and de-ageing tech in the world of entertainment?
Despite being a big Beatles fan (I’d have to be with my name), I haven’t taken much of an interest in Paul McCartney’s more recent solo work. I have to admit I wasn’t even aware he’d released his 18th(!) solo album last December, no less a single titled ‘Find My Way’ on the same day.
But then the YouTube algorithm recommended a new video for the remix of that song last Thursday, and it caught my eye immediately. Why? Because there walking and dancing around in the video was a young, vibrant, Beatles-era version of Paul, fresh out of the 60s.
I had to check it wasn’t old footage at first, or simply a young lookalike, but no – it’s a deepfake – a digital de-ageing. The company behind it, Hyperreal, has been quoted saying “the technology to de-age talent and have them perform in creative environments like this is now fully-realised”.
Cool or creepy?
I’ve seen descriptions of the de-aged Macca ranging from cool to creepy – impressive to unsettling. But how do you feel about it?
(let us know why you’re for/against in the comments)
You may remember we discussed ‘digital resurrections’ back in 2016 after the late Peter Cushing’s likeness was digitally inserted into a new Star Wars film. Cinema has also made the most of de-ageing tech in the past – the Terminator franchise has done it three times now with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton and Edward Furlong all getting the fountain of youth treatment.
Despite similar techniques being applied in major film franchises, the McCartney music video is the first time I’ve seen such a recognisable musician moving into the world of de-ageing and deepfakes. As this is a ‘performance’, does it open the door for more of the same from the past in the future?
Does seeing a young version of the musician make a song more accessible for a different audience? For what it’s worth, I do think the dance-style remix is an improvement on the original.
How do you feel about deepfake videos and de-ageing? How far do you think this technology will go in the world of entertainment?