Scary new deepfake software can make false videos of you using just one photo

Scientists have invented creepy new deepfake software which can produce a chillingly accurate simulated video of a person using just one photo and a voice recording.

Deepfake is a portmanteau combining the words ‘deep learning’ and ‘fake’, referring to simulated videos of human beings.

The tech uses machine learning or artificial intelligence to combine digital images with audio files to make convincing-looking fake footage of people uttering words they’ve actually said in real life.

We’ve already seen the Mona Lisa spring to life. but this is likely to be only the beginning of the avalanche of deepfakes which could make it impossible to work out if a video is genuine or simulated.

Academics from Imperial College have joined forces with Samsung to work on a deepfake system which uses a single image.

In the video below, you can see how they used the tech to make Rasputin sing Beyonce’s Halo or North Korea’s Kim Jong-ll sing Gangam Style.

\In a paper describing their work, the team wrote: ‘Speech-driven facial animation is the process that automatically synthesizes talking characters based on speech signals.

‘The majority of work in this domain creates a mapping from audio features to visual features.

‘This approach often requires post-processing using computer graphics techniques to produce realistic albeit subject dependent results. We present an end-to-end system that generates videos of a talking head, using only a still image of a person and an audio clip containing speech, without relying on handcrafted intermediate features.

‘Our method generates videos which have (a) lip movements that are in sync with the audio and (b) natural facial expressions such as blinks and eyebrow movements.’

The technique is in its infancy but will become increasingly sophisticated in the coming years.

‘We often accept things at face value, having neither the time nor the skill to check the authenticity or veracity of things ourselves. But the sophistication of deepfakes is such that even an expert could struggle to tell what’s real and what’s not,’ futurist Richard Watson told Metro.

‘We’re not talking about ventriloquist dummies here. We’re talking about things that look, sound and feel utterly convincing. This might all sound trivial, and many of the examples are, but sometimes things can get more serious.’

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