People Are Bringing Their Dead Relatives Back To Life With ‘Uncanny’ Deepfakes

by : Emma Rosemurgey on : 01 Mar 2021 11:23
People Are Bringing Their Dead Relatives Back To Life With 'Addictive' DeepfakesMyHeritage

For better or for worse, technology has come leaps and bounds in recent years, to the point where it sometimes feels like there’s nothing we can’t do.

One form of technology that has seen a particularly rapid evolution is deepfake technology, which allows images and videos to be distorted to make it look as though a person is doing or saying something they’re not.


There’s no getting away from the fact that deepfake technology can be pretty dangerous, particularly when being used to create pornographic content or to spread fake news.

However, one company is trying to use the technology positively, by allowing people to animate photographs of loved ones who have passed away in a bid to recreate nostalgic and heartwarming memories.

Deepfake App Lets You Bring Your Dead Relatives Back To LifeMyHeritage

Genealogy company MyHeritage is using a technology called Deep Nostalgia to animate old photos of loved ones, making them smile and blink as though brought to life.


Unlike the worrying trend of deepfake videos making their way onto the internet, Deep Nostalgia never includes speech to prevent people from misusing the feature.

‘While many love the Deep Nostalgia feature and consider it magical, others find it uncanny and are uncomfortable with the results,’ MyHeritage explained on its website.

‘Our driver videos don’t include speech in order to prevent abuse of this feature, such as the creation of deepfake videos of living people. Please use this feature on your own historical photos, and not on photos featuring living people without their permission.’


The unusual but impressive technology has been incredibly popular with users, with more than one million images being animated within the first 48 hours of the new feature going live on the website.

Many people who have used the feature have taken to Twitter to share their results after uploading old pictures of iconic people from our history, including Rosalind Franklin, Beethoven, and Charles Darwin.

Anyone who wants to try the technology can upload a number of images on the MyHeritage website for free, however the wider package does come at a price.


Of course, deepfake technology can be incredibly problematic, and we often associate it with negative use because of news stories around fake content being used in cases of revenge porn and other harmful crimes.

However, when used responsibly – and for the right reasons – it can be an incredible piece of technology that can be used to reconnect people with those they’ve lost.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

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Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.

Topics: Technology, Deepfake, Now


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    Deepfake tech used to bring dead relatives back to life