Did you know that technology exists that can create images of people that are not real?
And, did you know that technology exists that can make those "people" talk?
We've written about all sorts of dystopian technology on this website, but this might be the creepiest yet. Known as "deepfakes" (a portmanteau of "deep learning" and "fake") this technology can be used for human image synthesis based on artificial intelligence. It is used to combine and superimpose existing images and videos onto source images or videos using a machine learning technique known as generative adversarial network (GAN).
Deepfake technology is rapidly evolving and the likely consequences are troubling.
Deepfake technology has already been used to create fake news, malicious hoaxes, fake celebrity pornographic videos, and revenge porn. We know how fast the internet can turn on a person from just a camera angle. Imagine the chilling possibilities with this kind of technology.
In a February 2019 report called ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com Uses AI to Generate Endless Fake Faces, James Vincent raises chilling concerns over the technology:
As we've seen in discussions about deepfakes (which use GANs to paste people's faces onto target videos, often in order to create non-consensual pornography), the ability to manipulate and generate realistic imagery at scale is going to have a huge effect on how modern societies think about evidence and trust. Such software could also be extremely useful for creating political propaganda and influence campaigns.
It looks like "later" is here:
A new algorithm allows video editors to modify talking head videos as if they were editing text – copying, pasting, or adding and deleting words.
A team of researchers from Stanford University, Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Princeton University and Adobe Research created such an algorithm for editing talking-head videos – videos showing speakers from the shoulders up. (source)