We need to be more vigilant with what we trust on the internet.
That’s the message “Barack Obama” gave in a BuzzFeed video, where he also seemingly called US President Donald Trump a “total and complete dipshit”. Hard to believe? Well probably because it wasn’t Obama but Jordan Peele using machine learning tools to impersonate the former president.
In the video, Obama/Peele begins by highlighting the potential threats of impersonation on the web.
"We’re entering an era in which our enemies can make it look like anyone is saying anything at any point in time; even if they would never say those things. So, for instance, they could have me say things like... President Trump is a total and complete dipsh*t." - Peele impersonating Obama in a BuzzFeed video
In the latter half of the clip it is revealed that it is not Obama who is saying all of this, but Peele voicing-over his famous Obama imitation all along. The clip is thus, a a piece of fake news.
The fabricated video was produced using ‘After Effects’, a digital visual effects and motion-graphics application, and FakeApp, an artificial intelligence video editing application that is primarily used for superimposing faces. FakeApp is a desktop application created by Deepfake, an AI based human image synthesis technique.
Deepfake came under the spotlight following the 2017 porn scandal. A Reddit user under the pseudonym, “Deepfakes”, posted a number of doctored pornographic clips featuring faces of leading actresses like Gal Gadot, Emma Watson, Katy Perry, among others.
Something similar was done in the BuzzFeed video. FakeApp was used to replace Peele’s mouth with Obama’s. The application ran for 12 hours following which synchronisation improved dramatically. After exporting the video, FakeApp was allowed to run for another 48 hours which rendered Obama’s mouth with further precision.
BuzzFeed’s clip has thrown light on how easy it is to manipulate video content and create fake clips.
It thus cautions web users, worldwide, against the potential fraudulent content on the internet.
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