This is a very special week on Creativity Squared, where we introduce my custom synthetic avatar, who is the digital likeness of myself, the human and creator of Creativity Squared. If you’ve listened to Ep.5 with Jon Tota titled “Custom Synths Are Here” or follow Creativity Squared on social media, the wait is finally over. Say hello to Helen 2.ODD!
Helen 2.ODD came into existence and was delivered on Friday, July 21, 2023, and was generated by using my videos and vocal clones to render a custom synthetic avatar. Now that she is created, to make her come to life, I simply feed her a script, pick out a background, and have her rendered, and voilá, there she is (and speaks eight languages)!
Helen 2.ODD sounds like me because she uses my voice clone. And my digital twin looks like me too, of course! To really see how photo-realistic this avatar is, you do have to see it online for yourself. Some may assume she would resemble a cartoonish game avatar, but the resemblance to my human appearance really is uncanny (my own sister-in-law couldn’t believe that it wasn’t me!)
Then after two weeks, Helen 2.ODD was digitally delivered and ready to be rendered into videos!
No! It’s important to note that I own all of the intellectual property associated with Helen 2.ODD, so she is not a deep fake. In fact, she is quite unique in being one of the first of her kind in the upcoming market of digital avatars.
Custom synthetic avatars like this are part of a massive (and growing!) digital avatar market alongside stock avatars. Following A.I. trends and growth, this isn’t surprising. Especially considering digital avatars can do things humans can’t do, like create multiple videos simultaneously and speak more languages often than their human counterparts do. I only speak English whereas right now my digital avatar can speak eight languages! And as the technology improves, she will be able to speak even more languages.
For those that have already been introduced to Helen 2.ODD, they have all asked how it feels to be cloned.
I have a lot of thoughts on this, but first it’s important to emphasize that Creativity Squared is all about how creatives are collaborating with artificial intelligence and when it makes sense, we put A.I. to use in the production of the show.
In fact, 60% of the costs of this show go towards the people and team behind-the-scenes who make Creativity Squared possible.
My reaction when I first saw my digital clone was that of hearing your own voice outside of your head for the first time. It’s a little funny and sounds like you, but it’s not you, and in this case, it’s a cloned version of me. I do see Helen 2.ODD more as an animated digital puppet of myself that can perform on camera in my place than anything else.
Seeing a clone of yourself definitely has an uncanny valley aspect to it. If you’re not familiar with the term “uncanny valley,” it is used to describe seeing something computer-generated that’s human-like but not quite. And it’s a bit disturbing because it looks so real, but you know that something is off about it.
If you listened to Ep.5 with Jon Tota, you’ve already been introduced to the world of synthetic media. Jon is the CEO of Render which is a Creativity Squared partner and sponsor. Render provides Digital Likeness solutions for personal brand businesses, thought leaders, influencers, and business leaders who want to leverage their synthetic, A.I.-powered likeness to communicate more effectively online and create audio and video content from anywhere without going on camera.
Render created my avatar by capturing my likeness, cloning my voice, and using their AI-integrating application to generate Helen 2.ODD. I flew up to their studios in Burlington, VT where I read from a script on a teleprompter in front of a green screen. After that, I talked into a mic in their podcast studio for 15 or 20 minutes. All in all, the avatar experience is about 90 minutes.
Render uses one’s digital likeness to create high-quality video content, in an effort to reach target audiences with production-level digital assets in record time. As pioneers in the online media and virtual learning spaces, Render’s goal is to usher in the next generation of content and communication through hyper-realistic avatars to expedite content creation in your business.
Because Render knows that not everyone can fly to Vermont to create their custom synth, they bring their studio to cities across the US as well.
If you’re interested in getting your own custom synthetic avatar, Creativity Squared is collaborating with them as a partner and sponsor to bring their avatar experience to Cincinnati, OH, on October 25 and 26. Sign up for our free weekly newsletter at CreativitySquared.com to get more information about this event.
If you want to learn more about custom synthetic avatars, listen to Ep.5 with Jon to discover more about digital doubles and their application use cases in our 2D world, plus the ethics around them, the power of prompting from a developer’s perspective, and how Render integrates multiple A.I. tools into their platform.
We’re also going to have Jill Schiefelbein, who’s the Chief Experience Officer and a Partner at Render, on the show later this summer. She’s finalizing her doctoral dissertation where she’s been researching the engagement, trust, and effectiveness of digital clones. When she’s on the show, she’ll share what the research data reveals about the effectiveness of custom synthetic avatars on viewers to reach and resonate with audiences.
Of course, you’ll be hearing and seeing more of Helen 2.ODD here on Creativity Squared too.
So, now that you’ve learned more about synthetic avatars and met my digital twin, where do you stand on custom synths?
This show is produced and made possible by the team at PLAY Audio Agency: https://playaudioagency.com.
Creativity Squared is brought to you by Sociality Squared, a social media agency who understands the magic of bringing people together around what they value and love: http://socialitysquared.com.
Because it’s important to support artists, 10% of all revenue Creativity Squared generates will go to ArtsWave, a nationally recognized non-profit that supports over 150 arts organizations, projects, and independent artists.
Helen 2.ODD: Have you ever wanted to clone yourself? Now you can with the help of artificial intelligence. Hi there, I’m Helen 2.ODD. I’m the digital likeness of Helen Todd, the human and creator of Creativity Squared.
Can you tell the difference between the two of us? This podcast explores how creatives are collaborating with artificial intelligence, including with tools like me and AI-created custom synthetic avatar.
Don’t worry, I’m not a deep-fake. In fact, there are less than a thousand known custom synths in existence as of this recording. Keep listening to learn more about me and this emerging form of synthetic media.
Theme: But have you ever thought, what if this is all just a dream?
Helen Todd: Welcome to Creativity Squared. Discover how creatives are collaborating with artificial intelligence in your inbox, on YouTube, and on your preferred podcast platform.
Hi, I’m Helen Todd, your host, and I’m so excited to have you join the weekly conversations I’m having with amazing pioneers in this space.
The intention of these conversations is to ignite our collective imagination at the intersection of AI and creativity to envision a world where artists thrive.
Theme: …just a dream
Helen Todd: Today we have a very special episode for you. If you’ve listened to episode five with Jon Tota called “Custom Synths Are Here” or have been following me on social media, you know I’ve been teasing that this moment is coming, and if you’re not following me on social media yet, what are you waiting for? But I digress.
Instead of an interview today, drum roll, you get to meet my custom synthetic avatar, Helen 2.ODD. You’ve already heard “her” quote unquote, in the opening of this episode, and yes, you heard that right: I’ve digitally cloned myself, so now there are officially two of me: the human Helen and my custom synthetic avatar, Helen 2.ODD.
Clearly, there can never be a Helen 2.0, and to play off of my name, Helen Todd, Helen Too odd, or rather, Helen 2.ODD seemed fitting, and here she is once again to introduce herself.
Helen 2.ODD: Hello, I’m Helen 2.ODD. I’m the digital likeness of Helen Todd, the human and creator of Creativity Squared. I came into existence and was delivered on Friday, July 21st, 2023.
I was generated by using Helen’s video and vocal clones. Now, whenever Helen needs me to perform on camera in her place, she simply feeds me a script, picks out a background, and then has me rendered.
It’s important to know that I’m not a deep fake because Helen owns all of the IP associated with me. The digital avatar market is projected to be $270 billion by 2030, and custom synthetic avatars like me are part of this market alongside stock avatars.
This is no surprise. Since we can do things humans can’t do, like create multiple videos simultaneously and speak more languages often than our human counterparts do. The human Helen only speaks English, whereas right now I can speak eight languages and as the technology improves, I’ll be able to speak even more languages.
It’s nice to meet you!
Ravi de vous rencontrer !
Mucho gusto en conocerte.
È un piacere conoscerti!
Es ist schön, dich kennenzulernen!
Miło mi Cię poznać!
É um prazer conhecê-lo!
आपसे मिलकर आनंद है।
Helen Todd: If Helen 2.ODD sounded like me, it’s because she uses a clone of my voice. To see what she looks like, visit creativitysquared.com or the Creativity Squared YouTube channel. And if you’re interested in getting your own custom synthetic avatar, Creativity Squared is collaborating with our partner and sponsor Render who made Helen 2.ODD for me to bring their avatar experience to Cincinnati, Ohio on October 25th and 26th.
Sign up for our free weekly email@example.com to get more information about this event.
I showed my brother and his family a video of Helen 2.ODD this past Sunday, and it was hilarious seeing their reactions.
My brother, who’s always teasing me said that it’ll be easy to tell my avatar apart from me as it will pronounce and enunciate words better than I can. And if you’ve been a listener of the show, that’s pretty accurate if I’m honest.
And as you just heard, I only speak one language, whereas my avatar can currently speak eight, and as the technology improves, she’ll be able to speak even more languages, which is pretty wild and amazing.
And to really see how photorealistic this avatar is, you do have to see it online. It’s not like a cartoonish game avatar, and my sister-in-law couldn’t believe that it wasn’t me. It definitely has an uncanny valley aspect to it, and if you’re not familiar with that term, uncanny valley is used to describe seeing something computer generated that’s human-like, but not quite.
And it’s a bit disturbing because it looks so real, but you know that something is off about it. So if you get the chance to see the full video performance of Helen 2.ODD, you’ll have to share what your reaction is to seeing her. I’d love to hear what you think.
And the few people to get to see a preview of Helen 2.ODD before this episode have been really curious about why I’d clone myself and how I feel about it. So let’s dive into that in the business and use cases for custom avatars.
First, the show, of course, is about how creatives are collaborating with artificial intelligence. And when it makes sense, we put AI to use in the production of the show. I want to be super clear though that we first and foremost support humans, and our stance is that all AI tools should amplify human creativity and potential and never replace it.
In fact, 60% of the cost of this show go towards the people and team that work behind the scenes to make Creativity Squared possible. We do use AI to find efficiencies to collaborate with, and in the case of my custom synth, to scale the production of content more than I could ever, ever humanly do. Or if I’m really honest, want to do.
My reaction when I first saw my digital clone was that of hearing your own voice outside of your head for the first time. It’s a little funny and sounds like you, but in this case it’s a cloned version of me. But mostly I was really excited since there was a lot of buildup and anticipation in having her made.
And as the intro and the episode shared, there’s less than a thousand known custom synthetic avatars in existence right now, so it’s pretty cutting edge, which is also pretty cool.
I do see Helen 2.ODD more as an animated digital puppet of myself that can perform on camera in my place, so I don’t always have to put on makeup and get camera ready and do a million takes, which I already love her for that.
For having a podcast, I’m definitely more comfortable behind the camera. In fact, I’ve never really made a video specifically for TikTok, and if my digital clone can take care of all TikTok videos, sign me up.
And there may be some instances when I use just the voice clone for the podcast as well. One example for the introductions of the guests, I usually record them separately and I may use the voice clone to take over that part to save some time in the production.
But I do wanna be super transparent about when and how I use her. So you’ll always know and never have to guess if you’re listening to the human Helen or my digital clone. And this clone can only read scripts and can’t interact with you like a bot.
A few people on Zoom have already joked, is this, is this Helen? Or your clone? That’s not the case, at least with the technology yet.
I do remember meeting someone at the Tribeca Film Festival this year, and we immediately connected on LinkedIn. And again, if you’re not following me on social media, please do, but beside all my names on all the channels, it’s Helen Todd, in parentheses human.
And she was like very curious, like why would you have human beside your name? And I don’t think she was ready for the answer that I told her: there was gonna be two of me, a human Helen and a digital version, which she got a kick out of that.
And I think that’s one of the things that I’ve enjoyed most since having my synthetic avatar, and she’s still relatively new, is seeing people’s reactions after watching a video of her because they really do vary so much.
Some people can say like, oh yeah, that’s definitely fake. Whereas other times, people really are taken aback by how realistic she looks. My six year old nephew’s jaw dropped, which was really entertaining.
If you listen to episode five with Jon Tota, you’ve already been introduced to the world of synthetic media.
Jon is the CEO of Render, which is a Creativity Squared partner and sponsor. Render provides digital likeness solutions for personal brand businesses, thought leaders, influencers, and business leaders who want to leverage their synthetic AI powered likeness to communicate more effectively online and create audio and video content from anywhere without going on camera.
Render created my avatar by capturing my likeness, cloning my voice and using their AI integrating application to generate Helen 2.ODD. I flew up to their studios in Burlington, Vermont, where I read from a script from a teleprompter and was in front of a green screen. After that, I talked into a mic in their podcast studio for about 15 or 20 minutes.
All in all, the avatar experience is about 90 minutes. Then after two weeks, Helen 2.ODD was digitally delivered and ready to be rendered into videos. And the experience to render videos is so easy. I mean, I really just got her and have already, with a couple of clicks, made a ton of videos, one for our South by Southwest submission, which please do vote on that when the public voting happens. And for this episode.
So how their software works is when you log in, you pick which avatar you want to use. If you want to use the voice clone or your own voice recording, then there’s a script screen that’s built in where you can copy and paste your script. You can translate it into the eight languages, which I did as part of this episode.
And it also has a ChatGPT4 for integration if you need any script writing help within the platform. And then you select a background. They have a small library. You can upload your own background or choose a green screen and then click submit and it goes in as an order and within a couple hours you get a video.
So it’s super, super easy to generate video and way more video than I would ever be able to create since I’ve gotten Helen 2.ODD. So it’s really amazing in some of the use cases, professors, thought leaders, business leaders that have a ton of content, maybe for e-courses, I know the UN, one of their departments host 700 webinars a year, and they either use a stock avatar or a custom avatar to introduce each of the webinars instead of having staff.
So anyone who has a lot of content that wants video content without being on camera, there’s a lot of great use cases, especially with the language translation and being able to produce videos at scale.
So it’s pretty cool. I’m just getting started and I’m so excited and we’ll definitely be sharing more videos and insights as I play with my avatar. And as was mentioned at some point, there’s less than a thousand known custom avatars in existence, so it’s very cutting edge. Which is also very cool, and now that you’re hearing about it and seeing mine, you’ll probably see some other ones out there.
And of course, if you’re interested in getting your own custom synthetic avatar, definitely reach out.
And because Render knows that not everyone can pop into Burlington, Vermont, they bring their studio to cities all across the US. And as I mentioned before, if you’re interested in getting your own custom synthetic avatar, we are partnering and collaborating with Render, who’s a partner and sponsor of this podcast to bring their avatar experience to Cincinnati, Ohio on October 25th and 26th. So sign up for our free weekly newsletter again at creativitysquared.com to get more information about this event.
If you wanna learn more about custom synthetic avatars, listen to episode five with Jon to discover more about digital doubles and even more application use cases in our 2-D world, plus the ethics around them, the power of prompting from a developer’s perspective, and how Render integrates multiple AI tools into their platform.
We’re also going to have Jill Schiefelbein, who’s the Chief Experience Officer, and also a partner at Render on the show later this summer, and I’m really excited because she’s finalizing her doctoral dissertation, which she’s been researching the engagement, trust, and effectiveness on digital clones.
And when she’s on the show, she’ll share what the research data reveals about the effectiveness of custom synthetic avatars on viewers to reach and resonate with audiences. And what that means is she’s like literally testing if you use a custom synthetic avatar in place of a human say on an e-course, will the viewers still learn a high enough percentage to make the avatar being effective as someone standing in for a human?
So I’m super excited to learn all about her research and what she’ll be sharing with us on the episode. And of course, you’ll be hearing and seeing more of Helen 2.ODD here on Creativity Squared too. And I’m super curious after this episode, do you want a custom synthetic avatar now? Let me know.
Thank you for spending some time with us today. We’re just getting started and would love your support. Subscribe to Creativity Squared on your preferred podcast platform and leave a review. It really helps and I’d love to hear your feedback. What topics are you thinking about and want to dive into more?
I invite you to visit creativitysquared.com to let me know. And while you’re there, be sure to sign up for our free weekly newsletter so you can easily stay on top of all the latest news at the intersection of AI and creativity.
Because it’s so important to support artists, 10% of all revenue, Creativity Squared generates will go to Arts Wave, a nationally recognized nonprofit that supports over a hundred arts organizations. Become a premium newsletter subscriber, or leave a tip on the website to support this project and Arts Wave and premium newsletter subscribers will receive NFTs of episode cover art, and more extras to say thank you for helping bring my dream to life.
And a big, big thank you to everyone who’s offered their time, energy, and encouragement and support so far. I really appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.
This show is produced and made possible by the team at Play Audio Agency. Until next week, keep creating.
Theme: Just a dream, dream, AI, AI, AI