Nvidia has released its most unnerving AI-powered software to date. A new camera feature added in a recent update to the Nvidia Broadcast app edits a live feed to make it seem like someone is always looking into the camera, even when they’re not. It’s a disturbing feature that made me scream and scream when I first saw it in real time.
The feature, known as Eye Contact, debuted earlier this month as part of the 1.4 patch for Nvidia Broadcast, software that enhances video for live streaming and video conferencing. Nvidia said in a blog post that Eye Contact is for content creators who want to maintain eye contact with the camera at all times, even if they’re 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 can do.
In an interesting demo of the feature posted on Twittercan you see scenes from Jurassic Park edited with Eye Contact so that the actors always (usually) look into the camera. It’s weird and unpleasant! Probably even if you’ve never seen the movie before! It’s like the person was so preoccupied with whether or not they did could be do this that they don’t stop to think if they should…
I hopped on a video call with a Polygon colleague to see Eye Contact in action for myself. It felt creepy, even though I was just looking at my co-worker the entire time. I think it’s partly because completely 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 at some points he turned his head and looked to the side, and his eyes snapped back to staring straight at the camera; it kind of looked like he was a possessed character from a horror movie.
The Eye Contact feature is yet another example of how AI is becoming easily usable for everyday consumers. ChatGPT, which can be used for various applications such as 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’ movies.
If you too want to use this AI black magic, all you need to do is download Nvidia Broadcast – although your computer needs certain hardware to run, including an Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics card; you can view the full system requirements here.