A War On Pictures

By Niels Veekens

What it is

‘Deep Fake’ is a new concept on how Artificial Intelligence algorithms are able to swap the faces of anyone in a video, with anyone else’s.  Not long ago a Redditor with the name Deep Fakes was making a name for himself by posting very convincing “NSFW” videos that swapped the face of the person in the original video with famous celebrities like Taylor Swift. He did this by training the Deep Learning algorithm on some publicly available videos. He did this with just his home computer. Within just a few weeks the practice of swapping someone’s face exploded. There is now a desktop application called FakeApp, that lets anyone recreate one of these videos with their own dataset. No knowledge of programming required. Thanks to this new technology, somewhere and someone, made a hyper-realistic video of a pornographic actress stripping – with Michelle Obama’s face and put in on the internet. So obviously there are some moral implications. The Community that has developed this app called ‘Deep Fake’ has now been banned from Reddit. Most internet sites didn’t like this development and therefore banned and removed Deep Fakes. Currently, the only safe haven is the Reddit community ‘SFWdeepfakes’.

Until recently, these technologies were only available for big-budget Hollywood productions. But according to the New York Times, social media apps like Snapchat, and now also some hobbyists, have also adapted these face-morphing technologies.

Why it is cool

It is not hard to imagine how this technology can be misused to extort or spread lies about people. The phrase “with great power comes great responsibility” is not an exaggerated line regarding this case. Misinformation and Fake News are two very important and maybe even defining phrases in this era. So, to answer the question why it is cool is because it is a new kind of technology that creative artist can do great things with – think about a new filming technique for young producers. But it is also a technique that can be easily misused. The most important thing we need to do is to educate ourselves on this matter and learn how we can recognize what is fake and what not.

Future growth potential

A little bit of help from More’s Law will help make the app a game changer on the internet and in the video industry. Soon every video on the internet should be questioned about legitimacy. See your aunt uploading a political statement, fret no more, it is probably fake… Or it isn’t you never know what your aunt might be thinking.  The upside is that every actor that passed away could be brought back to life with this simple algorithm.

To watch a great video we found on YouTube please click here