In an age of Photoshop, filters and social media, many of us are used to seeing manipulated pictures – subjects become slimmer and smoother or, in the case of Snapchat, transformed into puppies.
However, there’s a new breed of video and audio manipulation tools, made possible by advances in artificial intelligence and computer graphics, that will allow for the creation of realistic looking footage of public figures appearing to say, well, anything. Trump declaring his proclivity for water sports. Hillary Clinton describing the stolen children she keeps locked in her wine cellar. Tom Cruise finally admitting what we suspected all along … that he’s a Brony.
This is the future of fake news. We’ve long been told not to believe everything we read, but soon we’ll have to question everything we see and hear as well.
For now, there are several research teams working on capturing and synthesizing different visual and and audio elements of human behavior.
Software developed at Stanford University is able to manipulate video footage of public figures to allow a second person to put words in their mouth – in real time. Face2Face captures the second person’s facial expressions as they talk into a webcam and then morphs those movements directly onto the face of the person in the original video. The research team demonstrated their technology by puppeteering videos of George W Bush, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.