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What is Deep Faking?

A (not so new) fad called Deep Faking has hit the scene, and it has the potential to do more than just troll your Facebook newsfeed. Using artificial intelligence to repurpose old footage to create fake videos and photos, this technology has the potential to reshape the world of information, putting your privacy at risk and jeopardizing the reputations of individuals and companies.

As it turns out, deepfakes are actually not as complicated as you may think. They are relatively simple to make, and a bit easier to detect if you’re lucky. They’ve also been around a while, and before that Cassetteboy and others were already chopping up clips to create viral videos.

Cassetteboy video on YouTube with over 7 million views

One of the first known applications of deepfakes was the famous BuzzFeed deepfake of President Barack Obama. While the technology is still pretty new, it has been used in other instances as well.

A disinformation force multiplier

Deep Faking is a technology that can generate convincingly fake video and audio content. These digitally altered videos are designed to be indistinguishable from real life. While it is not new, the rapid rise of the technology and its spread across the social media landscape has created a new threat to the world order.

As the use of deep fakes increases, we are likely to see more powerful sabotage efforts on a global scale. The consequences of such a campaign can be dire. In fact, a well-timed deep fake may be just the ticket to spark political divisions in a city or country.

Online, people can make deepfake versions of famous actors and even post them to YouTube. Ctrl Shift Face have deep faked many famous actors including a replacement of Rami Malek with Freddie Mercury in this example:

Corridor Digital have created several videos on YouTube detailing their exploration of deepfake technology to recreate Tom Cruise, Keanu Reaves and performing real time tests of the technology while making calls to each other:

Corridor Digital phoning people up with real time deepfakes

For movie production

As this technology becomes more sophisticated, it will eventually find its way into mainstream cinema. The generated likenesses can be used for anything from replacing actors to reversing aging. Deepfake technology can also be used to create new actors. If a filmmaker wants to replace an actor with a computer-generated version, they can get the job done quickly and cheaply. By using existing images, they can create a new actor who looks and sounds just like the original.

Another use of the technology is to change an actor’s body type. It can also be used for advanced face editing in post-production. With the new technologies, producers can decide which parts of multiple actors’ faces to use. And they can even sync mouth movements to voice lines. Although some of the effects are still in their infancy, they can provide an effective replacement for the actor. Some Hollywood filmmakers are already taking advantage of the technology. For instance, the recent film Fall used it to visually dub the scene where two friends fall from a 2,000-foot-tall radio tower.

In conclusion

The potential for using the technology to create new actors, replace existing actors, and even reverse aging is impressive. Nevertheless, the issue of the likeness being used without consent raises the question of what it means to be a deep fake. Using a celebrity’s likeness without their permission can be considered a breach of their privacy, and if this is done, a lawsuit can be filed.

Despite the issues surrounding its use, the popularity of deepfake is only likely to increase. Its applications are boundless, and it will soon find its way into the movie industry.

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