Thursday, April 15, 2021

William Shatner celebrates his 90th birthday by being transformed into AI

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For his birthday, William Shatner teleports into the digital world. The Star Trek legend, who just turned 90 on Monday, announced on Twitter that he’s collaborating with Los Angeles-based tech company StoryFile to create an interactive video of himself powered by AI. “This is for all of my children and all of my children’s children and all of my children’s relatives and all those close to loved ones,” Shatner said in a statement. “This is my gift to you through time. “The system works by filming a person speaking and then processing that footage using StoryLife’s artificial intelligence. Heather Maio-Smith, co-founder and CEO of StoryFile, explained that the project is “not an avatar, not a deepfake,” but rather a conversational video of the real Shatner answering questions about his life and career as a ‘actor. StoryFile plans to make Shatner’s video available to the public in May.

Shatner is the first personality for StoryFile Life, which launches in June. The technology is compatible with all connected devices as well as with VR / AR, 3D and alternative platforms.

“At StoryFile, we believe that every person’s story matters,” said Stephen Smith, co-founder of StoryFile. “Who better to show the world how StoryFile Life works than William Shatner, a man the world knows for stretching our imaginations on the future and life in this universe and beyond. A man who has always generously shared the ups and downs with us, and who has mastered the art of storytelling.

Shatner too taken to twitter to thank fans around the world for the outpouring of support on the occasion of his birthday. “Don’t you have better things to do?” he said. “Thank you all for your good wishes and your love!”

Last year, Shatner confirmed that he had not planning to reprise his role as James T. Kirk, saying the captain’s story is “fairly well played at this point”. While he won’t be returning to the Star Trek property, it looks like Shatner has found a way to live long and thrive in the future.

J. Kim Murphy is a freelance entertainment writer.

(Photo by Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

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