Wednesday, August 19, 2020

A tale of two synthetic reality startups: Hour One and Reface | Music Ally

We’re fascinated by the potential of ‘synthetic reality’, an area that brings together virtual reality, AI, ‘deepfakes’ and other technologies. Two more startups in the news this week offer some more sparks for thought on this score.

Hour One is the first: a company that takes real people and turns them into virtual characters, with uses including human resources, online shopping, language learning and customer support.

TechCrunch reported on the company’s new $5m seed funding round. “We believe that synthetic characters of real people will become a part of our everyday life,” said its CEO Oren Aharon.

On the more consumery side of things, Reface is an app that’s been getting some traction recently, describing itself as “the best face swap app” with the ability to paste your own face onto people in videos: film and TV clips, music videos, sports and so on.

Another TechCrunch piece revealed that Reface has had 20m downloads so far, with its CEO Roman Mogylnyi claiming that “we see personalised, hyperrealistic face swapping as the next big thing”. The piece is good on some of the moral dilemmas this technology is creating, although not so much on how the licensing / copyright side works – for example when music videos or artists are being used.


Image by Supamotion /

Stuart Dredge


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