OpenAI’s impressive new Sora videos show it has serious sci-fi potential

An alien character walking through a street
(Image credit: OpenAI)

OpenAI's Sora, its equivalent of image creation but for videos, made huge shockwaves in the swiftly advancing world of AI last month, and we’ve just caught a few new videos which are even more jaw-slackening than what we've already been treated to.

In case you somehow missed it, Sora is a text-to-video AI – so you can write a simple request and it’ll compose a video (just as image generation already works, but this is obviously a much more complex endeavor).

An eye with the iris being a globe

(Image credit: OpenAI)

Now OpenAI’s Sora research lead Tim Brooks has released some new content generated by Sora on X (formerly Twitter). 

This is Sora’s crack at fulfilling the following request: “Fly through tour of a museum with many paintings and sculptures and beautiful works of art in all styles.”

It's pretty impressive to say the least. On top of that, Bill Peebles, also a Sora research lead, showed us a clip generated from the following prompt: “An alien blending in naturally with new york city, paranoia thriller style, 35mm film.”

An alien character walking through a street

(Image credit: OpenAI)

Content creator Blaine Brown then stepped in to embellish the above clip, cutting it to repeat the footage and make it longer, while having the alien rapping, complete with lip-syncing. The music is generated by Suno AI by the way (with the lyrics written by Brown, mind), and lip-syncing is done with Pika Labs AI.

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Analysis: Still early days for Sora

Two people having dinner

(Image credit: OpenAI)

It’s worth underlining how fast things seem to be progressing with the capabilities of AI. Image creation powers were one thing – and extremely impressive in themselves – but this is entirely another. Especially when you remember that Sora is still just in testing at OpenAI, with a limited set of ‘red teamers’ (testers hunting out bugs and smoothing over those wrinkles).

The camera work in the museum fly-through flows realistically and feels nicely imaginative in the way it swoops around (albeit with the occasional judder). And the last tweet shows how you can take a base clip and flesh it out with content including AI-generated music.

Of course, AI can write a script as well, and so it begs the question: how long will it be before a blue alien is starring in an AI-generated post-apocalyptic drama. Or an (unintentional) comedy perhaps?

You get the idea, and we’re getting carried away, of course, but still – what AI could be capable of in just a few years is potentially mind-blowing, frankly.

Naturally, we’ll be seeing the cream of the crop of what Sora is capable of in these teasers, and there have been some buggy and weird efforts aired too. (Just as when ChatGPT and other AI chatbots first rolled onto the scene, we saw AI hallucinations and general unhinged behavior and replies).

Perhaps the broader worry with Sora, though, is how this might eventually displace, rather than assist, content creators. But that’s a fear to chew over on another day – not forgetting the potential for misuse with AI-created videos which we recently discussed in more depth here.

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).