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The ever-growing potential of Synthetic Media

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Ashwin Madhavan


The last few decades have witnessed a huge shift in how content is created and consumed. People relate more to digital content compared to its traditional counterpart. They find it more attractive, relatable and engaging. This has led to an ever-growing demand for digital content. In order to fulfil this demand, technology too has taken a leap forward with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and is now being used to create content, giving birth to ‘synthetic media’.

As the term suggests, synthetic media is digital content that is either created or modified using artificial intelligence algorithms. It helps the creator in changing the image, audio or video content and is used for the purpose of image synthesis, audio synthesis, music generation and speech synthesis, among other things. A very simple example of synthetic media is the use of AI technology to convert simple texts into voice-overs. Here, without the involvement of an actual human being, the AI ‘synthesizes’ the text into audio. Another famous example of the use of synthetic media is the creation of deepfakes wherein a person in a video or an image is replaced with someone else. It is called deepfake as the synthesized image is a ‘fake’ and is created using the AI technique of ‘deep’ learning.

Synthetic media makes it easier to create and/or modify content without the involvement of an actual human being, that too in a cost-effective manner. It has a lot of potential to revolutionize digital content generation. However, generating synthetic media is not as easy as it sounds. The creator needs to ensure that the synthesized media has a lot of similarities with the actual digital content. If it looks/sounds really ‘fake’, the use of synthetic media becomes futile. Therefore, in order to bring the ‘authenticity factor’ into synthesized media, the creators need to understand the context in which the content is being generated, the related human emotions, natural language, perspectives, tempo, tone etc.

Various businesses that cannot afford to record high-quality video content in studios are now considering the use of AI technology to generate synthetic media for creating content for the purpose of marketing. In the coming years, the adoption of synthetic media by various sectors has the potential to transform how content is generated and consumed.