Home » “The beast is back”: CD&V brings Jean-Luc Dehaene back to life with AI

“The beast is back”: CD&V brings Jean-Luc Dehaene back to life with AI

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Remarkable image on CD&V’s social media on Wednesday evening: with the help of artificial intelligence, the party brought ex-prime minister Jean-Luc Dehaene back to life in a video. “The beast is back!”

Wednesday, December 6, 2023 at 9:59 PM

The CD&V spares no effort to highlight their “respect works” campaign. In recent weeks, various leaders have had their say about what that slogan means to them. And now ex-prime minister and former figurehead of the party Jean-Luc Dehaene is also involved. Dehaene has been dead for nine years, but was brought back to life with the help of AI.

Cd&v used old footage and old sound fragments to imitate Dehaene’s facial expressions, body language and voice. The result is a 30-second video in which an AI version of Dehaene addresses the CD&V voters. “You see it well. The beast is back,” he says, referring to his historic statement from 1995, when Dehaene rode a rodeo bull during a trade mission in the US.

© cd&v

Experienced guide

“Our country faces serious challenges in 2024, but that was also the case in my time. The euro and the state reform, that was no joke, but we solved that too,” Dehaene said in the video. “Not by half-heartedly, but by doing what had to be done. And sometimes with a bit of stubbornness. But always with respect for the voter. That worked in the past and it can work today. Because respect works. Say that the experienced guide said so.”

The video immediately caused quite a stir on Wednesday evening. Many find the message a bit paradoxical. “Reviving deceased people for political messages does not seem to me to be the best plea for respect,” it says, among other things. But CD&V emphasizes that it has asked Dehaene’s family for permission in advance.

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“In this way, the party ties in with the historical track record of CD&V in a playful way,” said a press release. “Over the past decades, CD&V has always been the engine of prosperity in this country and this was often accompanied by important reforms in various areas. Just think of the efforts that former Prime Minister Dehaene made in the late 1990s to guide our country into the Eurozone. He did what had to be done, out of respect for the taxpayer.”

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