Nvidia has released its most nerve-wracking AI-based software yet. A new camera feature, added in a recent update to the Nvidia Broadcast app, edits a live feed to make it appear as if someone is always looking at the camera, even when they’re not. It’s a disturbing feature that had me screaming and screaming the first time I saw it in real time.
The feature known as eye contact was introduced earlier this month as part of the 1.4 patch for Nvidia Broadcast, software that improves video for live streaming and video conferencing. Nvidia said in a blog post that Eye Contact is intended for content creators who want to keep eye contact with the camera at all times, even when looking at notes or a script off-screen, for example. Now that it’s been out for a few weeks, we have a better idea of what it’s capable of.
In an interesting demo of the feature posted on TwitterYou can see scenes from Jurassic Park edited with eye contact so the actors are (mostly) always looking at the camera. It’s weird and repulsive! Probably even if you’ve never seen the movie! It’s like the person is so preoccupied with whether they’re doing it or not could do this so that you don’t stop thinking when you should…
I joined a video call with a Polygon colleague to see eye contact in action myself. It felt scary even though I was just looking at my colleague the whole time. I think that’s partly because fully uninterrupted eye contact doesn’t feel natural or normal when you’re having a casual conversation. Also, the software isn’t perfect – Nvidia says it’s in beta – so in a few places he turned his head and looked sideways, and his eyes glared back, staring straight at the camera; it kind of looked like he was a possessed character from a horror movie.
The eye contact feature is another example of how AI is becoming easy to use for everyday consumers. ChatGPT, which can be used for a variety of uses like essay writing, became an overnight sensation due to its natural language output. Other software such as DALL-E, Midjourney, and Free AI Art Generator are used to create memes and recreate the look of certain directors’ films.
If you too want to take advantage of this AI black magic, all you have to do is download Nvidia Broadcast – although your computer needs specific hardware for it to work, including an Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics card; You can view the full system requirements here.