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Image credit: The Dali Museum

Salvador Dali's AI clone will welcome visitors to his museum

His memory will persist in virtual form.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
01.28.19 in Art
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The Dali Museum

If you're planning a trip to the Dali Museum this spring, you might meet an unexpected guest: namely, Salvador Dali himself. The St. Petersburg, Florida venue has announced that an AI recreation of the artist will grace screens across the museum starting in April. A team from Goodby Silverstein & Partners used footage of Dali to train a machine learning system on how to mimic the artist's face, and superimposed that on an actor with a similar physique. The virtual painter will both draw on Dali's own writings as well as comment on events that happened well after his 1989 death -- it should at once be educational and as surreal as Dali's work.

The effect is uncanny. The voice is unsurprisingly different (AI voice recreation isn't part of the package), but you'd have to squint to tell you weren't actually looking at the mustachioed creator in his prime.

It's easy to see some taking offense to this, much as music fans object to holographic resurrections of legendary singers. The museum argues that the AI is in keeping with Dali's persona, however. Executive Director Hank Hine told Artnet News that Dali was interested in media and had a keen "sense of his own eternal significance." This is the man who painted The Persistence of Memory, after all. He might have gotten a kick out of seeing himself in digital form.

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