The creators of a disturbing viral beer commercial that was entirely generated from artificial intelligence (AI) say that it is designed to invoke our anxiety around AI.
The video, entitled Synthetic Summer, is in the style of an extremely generic feel-good beer ad but the disturbing visuals get weirder and weirder until it concludes.
It was created by Private Island, a commercial production company that works with mixed media. Its co-founder Chris Boyle tells PetaPixel that the video has received over 40 million views across different platforms.
“I think what is very interesting thing about AI model imagery is that you can watch it and it seems totally normal. But some part of you is flagging: ‘Hang on these people’s faces are on backward and there are too many fingers’,” he says.
“That kind of lurking uncanniness makes it a surreal experience to watch, it taps into a lot of our fears with this technology — that’s the point of the video.”
Boyle says that we’re in “unchartered water” and everyone has been “curveballed” by how fast AI technology is developing.
“It’s a cultural taking point that we’re all interested in at this moment in time,” says London-based Boyle.
“The uncanny nature of AI and the sense of vertigo of how quickly the technology is changing and what the repercussions of that means.
“Stuff that seemed impossible a year ago or even six months ago suddenly becomes possible. That acceleration is unnerving.
“We need to have responsible conversations about what it means. Every time in history when there has been technology that has a potential for societal change we haven’t necessarily legislated it and that would be a mistake with AI.”
Boyle and the team at Private Island used a combination of Stable Diffusion, Modelscape, and Runway Gen2 to create the video.
“We work across 2D, 3D, and live action so we’re always integrating new technology into the work that we do, it makes a lot of sense for us to play around with AI and we’ve been doing it for a while,” says Boyle.
“So we make stuff half for the purpose of just enjoying making it, it’s an interesting way to tell stories.”
Another AI-generated ad also made an impression on the internet this week, this one was for a fictional pizza restaurant called Pepperoni Hug Spot.
The images for the pizza commercial were generated from Midjourney and animated with Runway Gen2. Even the script was written by an AI — ChatGPT.