Deepfake technology is really getting its legs and this video of an old interview on The Late Show with David Letterman shows just how good it’s gotten, as well as how terrifying it can be in the future.
In a video posted by Cntrl Shift Face on YouTube, Letterman is interviewing actor Bill Hader for his role in the upcoming movie Tropic Thunder. Hader is telling Letterman a story about meeting Tom Cruise for the first time and every time he begins speaking as Cruise, you can watch Hader’s face change into Cruise’s.
Transition is seamless and you’ll hardly be able to note the moment it goes from being Hader’s face to Cruise’s.
Hader, at one point, impersonates actor Seth Rogen and the same thing occurs. It truly looks like Rogen’s face with Hader’s haircut.
Needless to say, this technology is unbelievable. Watching someone transform into someone else with almost no noticeable transformation process is a true testament to where we are technologically.
However, the fascination may turn to horror as we consider the implications of such technology.
Gavin Sheridan, CEO of Vizlegal, noted that with deepfake technology becoming more prevalent in our society, people will begin to stop believing their own eyes and ears and fake news will become a plague.
True videos will be called fake videos, fake videos will be called true videos. People steered towards calling news outlets "fake", will stop believing their own eyes. People who want to believe their own version of reality will have all the videos they need to support it.
— Gavin Sheridan (@gavinsblog) August 12, 2019
Imagine a court scenario where video has been entered into evidence of a person committing a crime. The face is clearly displayed in the footage and that very person now sits before the court. The evidence is damning, but the defendant says that it’s not him and that he was elsewhere as the crime was happening. What’s more, he has a solid alibi. He also appears on video at a different location at the same exact time.
One of these videos has been altered with deepfake technology, but it’s unclear which one. Investigators are going to have a hell of a time figuring it out, especially as the technology becomes far more refined.
And keep in mind that this technology isn’t something relegated to big-budget studios. According to Variety, the first time the technology surfaced was on Reddit in the form of a convincing porn videos of celebrities having hardcore sex:
Deepfake porn first surfaced on the internet in late 2017, when a Reddit user started to post clips that he had compiled with his own home computer. These clips showed X-rated action, seemingly starring some of Hollywood’s biggest names. To compile them, the user had downloaded thousands of photos of celebrities from the web and trained AI algorithms against these data sets, which enabled the replacement of the faces of porn stars with computer-generated faces of celebrities.
The results were convincing, scary, and enticing enough for thousands of users to flock to dedicated Deepfake Reddit communities to examine videos purporting to feature the likes of Emma Watson and Daisy Ridley.
Then, someone released an app to easily compile these kinds of clips at home. Dozens of new clips surfaced within days, and the app was downloaded more than 100,000 times by the beginning of February, according to its developer. A number of online platforms, including Reddit and Twitter, have since banned Deepfakes, but the purveyors of these videos have since found other places to swap them.
If the Hader interview is any indication, the technology is really advancing fast and you can bet it’s going to really to throw people for a loop, not just in the entertainment industry, but in everything from law to the news as well. Imagine politicians being on camera saying or doing something they never did.
Imagine deepfakes of world leaders inciting issues with other nations.
The implications could be endless and each possibility as terrifying as the next.