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Oren Aharon, Co-Founder & CEO of Hour One – Interview Series

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Oren Aharon is the Founder and CEO of Hour One.

Hour One revolutionizes content creation for businesses by centralizing workflows in one AI-powered platform. Featuring lifelike avatars, rapid rendering, and top-tier security, Hour One's AI video generator offers AI training videos and AI video explainer capabilities that streamline workflows and enhance productivity without requiring design or editing skills.

Can you share the genesis story behind Hour One, and why you chose to focus on the development of avatars for use in professional video communications?

The origin of Hour One can be traced back to early generative works, especially GANs. We were pondering which major industry mass cloud computing would transform next. Our focus was on how human interaction and communication could be extended and modified with generative AI—a term that wasn’t very popular at the time, if you can believe it. From seeing the initial results, we were convinced this technology would revolutionize the creation of content and the way messages are communicated. We decided to concentrate on the professional setting because we felt it lacked a face, personality, and authenticity. Thus, the founding of Hour One was set in motion.

Could you explain the technological advancements behind Hour One's AI-powered cinematic avatars, and how they differentiate from other AI avatars in the market?

Hour One AI’s cinematic avatars capture the full range of personal gestures and expressions, from minute facial movements to noticeable body gestures, enabling the matching of the narrative context to the AI avatar’s behavior. This is all integrated into an engaging and realistic video environment, creating a cinematic look and feel.

We have been developing avatar models for over five years, and our extensive knowledge in capturing data, processing, training, and inferencing has allowed us to continuously improve and push the boundaries of what is possible. From the beginning, we understood that the delivery and environment in which the avatar is placed would determine how emotionally engaged the audience feels. That is why we have developed the infrastructure and technology to create immersive video environments that achieve this cinematic look and feel.

How did the collaboration with Reid Hoffman come about, and what impact do you anticipate his involvement will have on the adoption of AI avatars?

Reid came up with the idea of creating Reid AI, which includes an AI voice, brain, and avatar. He and his team were evaluating various technologies to create Reid AI. We met with Reid’s team and demonstrated the initial results of our cinematic avatar. Since then, Reid has been using our cinematic avatar and platform to create his content.

We believe the impact of Reid AI will inspire a wave of AI personalities using these technologies to extend their reach and create a new medium of communication across various channels. We believe it will become standard to have an AI version of oneself, not to deceive the audience, but to provide an extension and another method of interaction.

What are some of the most innovative use cases you have seen for Hour One’s cinematic avatars in enterprise settings?

Hour One’s cinematic avatars are revolutionizing enterprise communications with several innovative applications. Sales representatives use our avatars to craft personalized video responses to inbound inquiries, enhancing engagement by replacing traditional emails with tailored video messages. In meetings, avatars can act as virtual representatives, attending on behalf of busy professionals and providing a detailed video summary afterward. This technology is also being adopted by CEOs for direct and impactful communication with customers, employees, and investors, enabling them to convey their messages with a consistent, personal touch. These diverse use cases showcase how Hour One’s avatars are making enterprise communication more dynamic, efficient, and engaging.

Can you walk us through the process of creating a video using Hour One’s platform from script generation to final video export?

Creating a video on the Hour One platform is straightforward. You start by choosing a template that will serve as your cinematic environment. Then, you either type the text you want your avatar to speak or use our Script Wizard, designed specifically for generating scripts for videos.

The magic is that with just a few clicks, and without any design or editing skills, you can create an amazing cinematic video. From idea to storyboard to video in minutes.

How does the platform ensure the hyper-realistic quality of the avatars, especially when compared to traditional video production methods?

At Hour One, our mission has always been to create the most realistic avatars, benchmarking against traditional production methods. Our avatar model is continuously training and improving. The current cinematic model has reached a production-level quality, allowing the avatar to appear very natural, as seen in Reid AI examples. There is still some way to go to cover the full spectrum of video production, but we believe it’s not far off. To ensure not only the avatar but the entire video output is realistic, we have been developing cinematic environments accessible through our system, moving beyond the “presentation” look and feel.

What trends are you seeing in the adoption of AI video technologies across different sectors?

In recent years, video has been adopted across many industries. Today, much of the video content you consume daily is human-led (like TikTok and YouTube). In professional settings, producing similar videos used to be more challenging. However, with the explosion of generative AI technology, we see increasing adoption in professional settings—from internal and external communications to marketing and sales use cases. As video becomes more accessible, more companies are producing content daily across many departments, using video to cut through the noise found in email and social media.

How does Hour One ensure the ethical use of its AI tools, especially in media and content creation?

Ethical AI has been at the core of our development, influencing how we handle data, access, and the overall process of creating avatars at Hour One. We enable companies and individuals to manage access to their avatars and continuously monitor and safeguard against unintended use. Our focus is mainly on professional industries, so our concerns differ from purely social avatar platforms. We designed our system with these considerations in mind and apply the necessary precautions. For videos, we mark each one to acknowledge that it’s AI-generated.

With deepfakes becoming a growing societal concern, what are some ways that industry can easily identify and label videos which are generated by AI?

Several methods can address this concern. Visual marks can be placed on the video or the avatar to notify viewers. Another approach being standardized in video metadata is marking which layer or part of the video has been AI-generated, potentially signed by digital authorities, similar to website certificates. The significant leap will come when video players adopt these standards and certificates, allowing users to opt-out or specify the content they are willing to be exposed to.

What future developments can we expect from Hour One in terms of AI and video technology?

Hour One is committed to creating realistic and engaging digital experiences. In the future, you can expect even more realistic avatars with a broader range of expressions. Videos will converge to production quality, offering dynamic experiences, interactivity, and personalization with a human connection. This will become a staple of Hour One content and how we believe content will be consumed.

We look forward to collaborating with companies to enable them to create experiences utilizing our technology infrastructure directly, rather than through our platform, allowing them to better realize and scale their vision.

Thank you for the interview, readers who wish to learn more should visit Hour One.

A founding partner of unite.AI & a member of the Forbes Technology Council, Antoine is a futurist who is passionate about the future of AI & robotics.

He is also the Founder of Securities.io, a website that focuses on investing in disruptive technology.