Several years back, I wrote about how “reality” can be manipulated in real time with an actor posing as an authentic person on television. The results were quite amazing and quite chilling. Now, just three years later, the technology has advanced to the point that you don’t even need the actor, just video, and you can make anyone from anywhere say whatever you want them to say and both the audio and video will automatically adapt to present something that anyone watching wouldn’t even be able to identify the manipulation.
First, from my report back in 2016:
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 seen 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.
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.
Fastforward just a few, short years and the technology has produced amazing results with video manipulation.
In a recent article The Observer, we are told that scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Princeton University and Adobe Research have developed software that allows you to now edit and change what people are saying in videos.
Take a look at what can by done by anyone to anyone anywhere in the world with this technology.
Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge commented on how the software functions. He wrote, “The software uses machine learning and 3-D models of the target’s face to generate new footage which allows the user to change, edit and remove words that are coming out of a person’s mouth on video, simply by typing in new text. Not only that, the changes appear to have a seamless audio/visual flow without cuts.
The Observer went on to point to a collaboration by two artists, Bill Posters and Daniel Howe, and the advertising company Canny. Though they clearly are manipulating Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg, they are clearly making him tell the truth.
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That’s not all.
Joe Rogan was also given the deepfake treatment by the AI company Dessa, which recently released audio that distinctly sounds like the podcaster talking about chimp hockey.
Pretty incredible, right?
But in the wrong hands, one can see how this will be used by a tyrannical government to frame perfectly innocent people or be politicians to scandalize their opponents.
I’m sure we have nothing to worry about though, right? As long as this technology remains in the “good guys'” hands, there is nothing to worry about. Our government would never use such things against their own people (wink, wink).
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