How to Send Your Face Back in Time With MyHeritage's 'AI Time Machine'

Just don't blame us for the results.

Abrar Al-Heeti Technology Reporter
Abrar Al-Heeti is a technology reporter for CNET, with an interest in phones, streaming, internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. She's also worked for CNET's video, culture and news teams. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
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Abrar Al-Heeti
2 min read
MyHeritage AI Time Machine

This AI shows what you'd look like in various eras.


Ever wanted to know what you'd look like as an American pioneer? Or a WWII nurse? A 1930s movie star? I hadn't, until I came across this AI Time Machine feature. I decided to give it a try. 

The feature is from genealogy company MyHeritage. It's introduced other intriguing features including Deep Nostalgia, which animates pictures of people to make it look like they're moving, and LiveStory, which takes that a step further and animates a person's face and mouth so it looks like they're telling their life story. Now, using the new AI Time Machine feature, you can upload pictures of yourself and then see what the AI thinks you'd look like throughout different historical periods. 

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If you want to try it out, you can go to the MyHeritage website (the feature is not yet available on the app). From the homepage, hover over "Photos" in the top menu bar, then select "AI Time Machine." Upload 10-25 photos (MyHeritage recommends uploading a mix of full-body images, close-ups, upper body shots and side profiles). The company is offering a free trial in some US states, but otherwise you'll need to pay $10 to use the feature. 

I was surprised -- and slightly disconcerted -- by the results, but it was undoubtedly amusing. I wondered what it would end up doing with my hijab, and the outcome was, well, interesting. In some pictures, the AI incorporates my hijab into a pirate's ensemble, and in others, it seems to have decided I have long, blonde, wavy hair. Along with a pirate, the AI pictured me as an Ottoman Empire bride (another way to work in the hijab, I suppose), a WWII nurse, a woman from the 50s and an American Pioneer. Here are some of the most intriguing examples.

AI Time Machine pirate

What I'd apparently look like as a pirate (blonde waves and all).

AI Time Machine Ottoman bride

Me as an Ottoman bride. This was a good way to work in the hijab.

AI Time Machine WWII Nurse

If I were a WWII nurse.

AI Time Machine 1950s

What AI thinks I'd look like in the 50s. Well, at least it got my eyes right.

AI Time Machine American Pioneer

I'm digging the florals in this American Pioneer rendering.


Of course, AI isn't perfect, so here are two slightly unsettling examples:

AI Time Machine pirate 2

Side profiles can be tough. But at least I have a hijab in this one.

AI Time Machine Ottoman bride 2

Apart from the apparent bloody nose and uneven eyes, this outfit is pretty cute.


MyHeritage makes it easy to download and share these creations on social media, if you feel compelled to do so. Otherwise, you can add this to the list of things you didn't know AI could -- or should -- do.