I’ve often wondered what actually takes place in a number of news items we report and comment on. After all, it’s not like I can travel around the world and see it for myself without the aid of some talking head, reporter or state-controlled mechanism, right? In a short video by Truthstream Media, the latest technology is exposed. I’m talking about RGB videos.
Watch as ordinary people “wag the dog” using an incredible technology that manipulates “reality” in real time. The full video without commentary by Melissa and Aaron Dykes can be see at Face2Face: Real-time Face Capture and Reenactment of RGB Videos (CVPR 2016 Oral.
The technology was presented by Standford University. According to the website:
We present a novel approach for real-time facial reenactment of a monocular target video sequence (e.g., Youtube video). The source sequence is also a monocular video stream, captured live with a commodity webcam. Our goal is to animate the facial expressions of the target video by a source actor and re-render the manipulated output video in a photo-realistic fashion. To this end, we first address the under-constrained problem of facial identity recovery from monocular video by non-rigid model-based bundling. At run time, we track facial expressions of both source and target video using a dense photometric consistency measure. Reenactment is then achieved by fast and efficient deformation transfer between source and target. The mouth interior that best matches the re-targeted expression is retrieved from the target sequence and warped to produce an accurate fit. Finally, we convincingly re-render the synthesized target face on top of the corresponding video stream such that it seamlessly blends with the real-world illumination. We demonstrate our method in a live setup, where Youtube videos are reenacted in real time.
While the technology is not perfect, it is impressive, though diabolically so. Imagine you are one of the Bundy Ranch protesters, and your image is captured and used in a manner like this to portray you saying things you never said? Or perhaps, imagine that world leaders’ images are manipulated to have those saying things they never said and put out in the media as propaganda to change the masses perception of said leader. Would you buy it?
Or consider how we already know that Hollywood uses lots of CGI (computer generated images) and green screens to produce movies. Such is the case in this short clip from Stargate Studios.
Frankly, I’m thinking that after watching these videos, several people at CNN and the BBC will be out of jobs as soon as they can use this technology to fabricate war reports.
Imagine what this fake report from CNN would look like with this technology.
Or how about this one from the BBC.
Watch out Anderson Cooper, I think someone may even be aiming for faking news anchors.