The MyHeritage site and its “Deep Nostalgia” photorealism

I’m still not sure how I feel about this. It’s a nice feature, but … um …

Genealogy site – you know, the site where they claim if you look far enough into your past, you might find that one of your ancestors signed the Declaration of Independence or something (heck, the only thing I can discover from going back on my family tree is that it has a lot of dry rot in it) – well, the site is now offering a “Deep Nostalgia” gimmick, in which they can take a photo of one of your dearly departed … and re-animate it as if it was alive today.

This I gotta see.

No, seriously. This I gotta see.

Let’s test this theory out.

I have this old picture of my Grandma Betty from ages ago. I restored the original – which had a crease in the middle and a water stain – to look like this.

So apparently this site now has a feature where they can use artificial intelligence to re-animate this photo, and essentially make it look as if my Grandma Betty is still alive.

Oh … kay …

I uploaded the photo. I’m not expecting much, but let’s see what it can do.

A few moments later, they gave me this.

Oy gevalt! How in the hell did they do this … well, yeah, I have some idea. There’s enough artificial intelligence and such in the internet, that they were able to use some computer generated whoosis and brought my Grandma Betty back to life!

Well, sorta … I mean, yeah, she can move her head and she can smile and all that … but it’s not like she can talk to me again. Or I can talk to her.

In other words, it’s a great trick … It really is … but it’s still kind of a trick.

I’ll prove it. Here’s a selfie I took a few years ago. Me in all my finest.

All right, … let’s see what you have up your sleeve.

A few moments later … look what popped up.

So here’s what they do . They took my face from the photo, cropped into it as closely as possible, and then showed me blinking my eyes, moving my head, even cracking my neck. All I need now is to sit on Edgar Bergen’s knee.

And again, I’m still a bit creeped out about this. The photos look real, they almost look real enough that you could call out to that person and say hi. To say I miss you. To say so many things.

Okay, let’s try another one. Here’s a photo of my father, Bob Miller. I’ve blogged about him before.

Here’s what he looks like in the photo. He passed away about two years ago.

Now let’s see what can do with this.

Okay. Here we go.

So there he is. Hi Dad. So why the fuck did you treat me the way you did? Why did you tell me, when I was but a wee lad, that if abortions were legal in 1963, I wouldn’t have been your problem? Why did you treat me as if I was something that ruined your future because you didn’t have the common decency to wrap it up or pull it out or not even get involved with my mom? Huh? Well?

And for that matter, how in the fuck did you decide to die off and not even send a word out to your children? Did you think so little that you would have rather died than have any sort of common fucking decency to let your kids know you were sick? That maybe in that moment, maybe in that instant, you could have swallowed your pride and, oh, I don’t know, CALLED SOMEONE and tried to explain things? Make amends? Tell me that four months in the Chestnut Prison in Abington was an aberration, and not your true nature? Anything like that? But no, you treated your children like you treated a stone on the sidewalk. You kicked us away and barely noticed where we landed. And you went from family to family, from wife to wife, until you got what you wanted. I’ve been on this earth for 57 years, and for 55 of those, you barely acknowledged that I was your son, and even in those moments where you were forced to, you did so with the same shiftless disdain as one might give a bad meal.

Hey, maybe you can meet up with my stepfather and the two of you can compare notes on which one of you did the most damage to me – him with the physical abuse, or you with the emotional abuse. I bet you two could toast your successes over a bottle of Cutty Sark. Or Schlitz. All the moments I could have celebrated with a father, and you weren’t even interested in doing that. All you did was prove to me that being a father is more than just donating your sperm to someone. Because you barely did that, and my birth meant you regretted it for the rest of your miserable, chain-smoking, marriage-wrecking life.

And you’re just sitting there in front of that bookcase, rocking your head back and forth like some sort of used bobblehead, you’re not even listening to me. You don’t care. All these years, and you don’t care. You don’t care about the emotional trauma you caused me. I’ve still got the fucking scar on the right side of my scalp from when you came home one night, so pissed off at my mom and my brothers and sisters, and you took out all your rage on me. With a fucking claw hammer, swinging it upside my head. How I didn’t get a concussion or a fractured skull from that abuse, I still have no idea. But I still have that scar. One of three in my skull. Ask my stepfather about the second one. And ask the bullies at the trailer park in South Colonie about the third. That’s your legacy. And you can stare back at me through that animated photo with your disdainful eyes, and that’s the best you can give me? Fucking worthless excuse for a parent. You may not have been the only one to make me hate my own personal existence, but you sure as shit were the first. I hope you’re happy. I hope you’re satisfied. I hope you’re fucking satisfied.


Scuse me.

Gotta take a deep breath here. Okay. Yeah, sorry.

See, this is something I wasn’t expecting when I tried this animated picture gimmick. There’s a part of it where it’s just real enough to fool you – and then there’s a part where it’s real enough to make you remember a lot of bad things that happened. Lots of bad things.

Yeah, I’m not going to do any more of these. I can’t. It’s just doing a number on my senses.

Sorry, blog readers. Sometimes it’s not a good idea to reanimate old memories.

You may not want them to resurface.