Fake videos created by AI-assisted algorithms are already causing a stir. So-called “DeepFakes” have put other people’s words into the mouths of politicians and even superimposed celebrity faces onto the bodies of porn actresses.
Now, researchers have developed a new approach that can make the videos even more convincing, which makes them all the more terrifying.
Previously, this technique could only manipulate facial expressions. The results were pretty impressive, although not totally convincing. This new approach is the first successful attempt to transfer the full three-dimensional head position, head rotation, face expression, eye gaze, and eye blinking from a video of one face onto a video of another.
Building on their previous deep-learning algorithms, the new technique offers more realism and subtlety, picking up on fine details such as the slight flick of a head or the wiggle of a shoulder. The new results also show way less glitchy distortions, also known as artifacts, which can make most forgeries easy to spot. The videos are so seamless that their experiments showed that people were unable to detect any video manipulation at all. As far as they could tell, the videos were real.
The researchers believe that the technology could have some useful applications, such as post-production editing. For example, it could be used to superimpose the face of deceased actors into a new or unfinished film. It could also be used for dubbing, either in movies or for teleconferences.
Nevertheless, the technology has raised its fair share of eyebrows. Politicians and computer scientists alike have also flagged up concerns that the tech could be abused to create the ultimate "fake news", with some even warning that the technology has the power to shape global politics.
“Unfortunately, besides the many positive use cases, such technology can also be misused. Currently, the modified videos still exhibit many artifacts, which makes most forgeries easy to spot,” the researchers write. “It is hard to predict at what point in time such ‘fake’ videos will be indistinguishable from real content for our human eyes.”
But before our civilization falls into a confusing mess of inauthenticity, check out these DeepFake videos of Nicolas Cage superimposed into numerous Hollywood movies: