Nvidia has released its most nerve-wracking AI-powered software yet. A new camera feature added in a recent update to the Nvidia Broadcast app edits a live feed to make it look like someone is always looking into the camera, even though they’re not. It’s a disturbing feature that had me yelling and screaming the first time I saw it in real time.
Known as Eye Contact, the feature 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 intended for content creators who want to maintain eye contact with the camera at all times, even if they’re e.g. looking at notes or an off-screen script. 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 function posted on Twitteryou can watch scenes from Jurassic Park edited with Eye Contact so that the actors are always (mostly) looking at the camera. It’s strange and off-putting! Probably even if you’ve never seen the movie before! It’s like the person was so concerned about whether or not they could do this that they did not stop to think about if they should…
I jumped into 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 colleague the whole time. I think it’s partly because completely uninterrupted eye contact doesn’t feel natural or normal if you’re having a casual conversation. Also, the software isn’t perfect—Nvidia says it’s in beta—so at times he’d turn his head and look to the side, and his eyes would snap back to staring directly at the camera; it looked like he was a possessed character from a horror movie.
The eye contact feature is another example of artificial intelligence becoming easily usable by everyday consumers. ChatGPT, which can be used for a variety of applications such as writing essays, 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’d like to use this AI black magic too, all you have to do is download Nvidia Broadcast – although your computer will need certain hardware for it to work, including an Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics card; you can see the full system requirements here.