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TikTok's Symphony Avatars Make It Tough to Tell If It's a Human or an AI Clone in an Ad Notable brands, including the NBA and American Eagle, are testing TikTok's AI features.

By Sherin Shibu Edited by Melissa Malamut

Key Takeaways

  • TikTok announced AI avatars for ads on Monday.
  • They come in two varieties, stock and custom, and are pitched as useful for two groups of TikTok users: brands and creators.
  • TikTok also revealed an AI dubbing tool that automatically allows creators and brands to translate existing ads into 10 languages.

Is that an AI clone or a real person? TikTok's newest features make it hard to tell.

On Monday, TikTok unveiled symphony digital avatars or lifelike AI clones of people that companies and creators can use in ads. There's also a new AI dubbing tool.

The avatars are either custom-made to take on creators' likenesses or are AI replicas of paid stock actors of different ages and nationalities.

So creators could use their avatars to make an ad or brands could choose stock avatars to represent them as AI spokespeople.

The avatars look convincingly human, as evidenced by a demo TikTok posted of the technology in action.

@tiktoknewsroom

Introducing Symphony Digital Avatars, to help creators and brands captivate global audiences and deliver impactful messages in an immersive and authentic way. Check out our Newsroom to learn more.

♬ original sound - TikTok Newsroom

The avatars "speak" over 30 languages, including English, Spanish, German, and Japanese, making it look like the creator or stock actor can speak those languages, too. This can help brands and creators connect to global audiences and expand their reach.

TikTok's new Symphony AI dubbing feature also means that AI can detect the language of a video and produce a dubbed version in more than 10 languages.

Related: AI Clones Get Human Emotions, Synthesia Deepfakes Look Real

The avatars and dubbing tool could make global ad campaigns more local and personal: Nearly 60% of TikTok users say they trust brands more when they hear about them from creators instead of ads.

Notable brands and creators are also giving feedback on TikTok's AI features, including the NBA, American Eagle, and Drea Okeke, a social media influencer with 6.6 million TikTok followers. They're all part of a new AI advisory board called the Symphony Collective.

However, with the widespread use of TikTok's AI avatars, it might be harder to tell the difference between ads from creators and ads from companies.

Related: How Can AI Help Small Businesses? It's A Matter of Trust, According to a New Report

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) posted guidance last week on AI use in ads, writing AI avatars "that perform as if human" is a "deliberate design choice."

"Don't offer these services without adequately mitigating risks of harmful output," the FTC wrote.

TikTok started automatically labeling AI-generated content in May, even on images and videos created through other companies like Microsoft or OpenAI.

The social media platform faces a possible U.S. ban; it has until January 2025 to separate from its parent company ByteDance or face removal from U.S. app stores.

Related: TikTok Sues U.S. to Block Ban, Sale Mandate

TikTok's AI avatars and AI dubbing features are currently in beta and only available to a limited group of users.
Sherin Shibu

Entrepreneur Staff

News Reporter

Sherin Shibu is a business news reporter at Entrepreneur.com. She previously worked for PCMag, Business Insider, The Messenger, and ZDNET as a reporter and copyeditor. Her areas of coverage encompass tech, business, strategy, finance, and even space. She is a Columbia University graduate.

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