back to article The eyes have it: 'DeepFakes' bogus AI-meddled videos outed by unblinking gaze

In the last year or so convincing fake videos known as DeepFakes – the product of deep learning-driven facial image manipulation – have been condemned as a threat to democracy, or what's left of it. The fear is that invented events represent the sort of fake news that can alter elections and affect civic engagement. Imagine …

  1. GBE

    Repudiating democratic norms

    Imagine the havoc that could be caused by a video of a prominent politician repudiating democratic norms – and no one is sure whether it reflects reality.

    Is that worse that what we have now -- seeing them every day and knowing they are real?

    It might be reassuring to have some hope that those clips aren't real...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Re: Repudiating democratic norms

      You could repudiate democratic norms while not blinking, so you have deniability later that you didn't really say it and call "fake news" on the media for reporting on it. Double win!

    2. Steve Button

      Re: Repudiating democratic norms

      Imagine a fuzzy video of naked Donald Trump pissing all over a Russian prostitute. If that comes out in 2020 and goes viral it could swing the next election (assuming it's close). It wouldn't matter if he was blinking 17 times / minute really. It's a pretty disgusting image to have in your head, and would be hard to un-remember. Regardless of if it's fake or not.

      Actually, I'm struggling to un-imagine it now, and I wish I hadn't started typing this post. Ewww.

      1. S4qFBxkFFg

        Re: Repudiating democratic norms

        "Imagine a fuzzy video of naked Donald Trump pissing all over a Russian prostitute. "

        If they bring piss to a deepfakes fight, you bring shit.

        If they bring shit, you bring animals.

        If they bring animals, you bring... (completion is left as an exercise for the reader)

        Welcome to the latest race to the bottom (fnarr fnarr), accelerated by the efforts of Nvidia/AMD.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Crisp
        Mushroom

        Re: Imagine a fuzzy video of naked Donald Trump

        NO!

        Oh gods! Now I can't think of anything else!

  2. Mage Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Blinking

    Animation 101: How to add realism and emotion.

    Includes info about blinking.

    Trivial to add

    1. Pete 2 Silver badge

      Re: Blinking

      > Trivial to add

      But not as trivial as wearing shades

    2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Blinking

      Animation 101: How to add realism and emotion.

      Includes info about blinking.

      Trivial to add

      Will have to look at my daughter's install of MMD and see how they handle character blinking. I know the characters blink in the Project Mirai live shows, but that's the experts at Sega rendering those.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dreaming of Electric Sheep

    I really hope a couple of these researchers are named Voight and Kampff.

  4. Daggerchild Silver badge

    I for one...

    .. will be practising talking into a camera without blinking.

    You never know when it might be useful to prove you didn't say something you said.

    1. Iain 14

      Re: I for one...

      "...will be practising talking into a camera without blinking."

      Sir Michael Caine discussed doing this in his famous masterclasses on movie acting.

      Interestingly - given the context - his reasons for doing it were that it held the viewer's attention and made you look strong and authoritative. Blinking on camera makes your character look weak...

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Mephistro

      Re: I for one...(@ daggerchild)

      ".. will be practising talking into a camera without blinking."

      A small amount of BMP* could help in that department.

      And if the politician is less chemically inclined, he can paint a pair of eyes in his/her/its eyelids, and say/do whatever pleases. The only drawback is that he shouldn't do it while needing to keep his eyes open, e.g. as for walking, driving, using heavy machinery, preventing that sexy goat from bitting his/her/its junk off or hanging out with people that would rob his/her/its** blind at the drop of a hat, like most other politicians.

      * BMP = Bolivian Marching Powder.

      ** After using it this Inclusive Language thing for several minutes, I like Inclusive Language even less. ;-)

      You're welcome.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So are we saying fish and snakes aren't real?

    1. Fungus Bob

      No, we're saying they're real creepy.

    2. hplasm
      Terminator

      So are we saying fish and snakes aren't real?

      Check the sacles for serial numbers and copyright.

  6. 89724102372714531892524I9755670349743096734346773478647852349863592355648544996313855148583659264921 Bronze badge

    "In the long run, they suggest, other types of physiological signals will also need to be considered in efforts to detect fake videos."

    ...because blink frequency will be incorporated in future iterations of the algorithms, as will "other types of physiological signals". There's no reason Deepfakes can't eventually blackmail you, invalidate visual news as a source of reliable information etc.

    1. Cuddles Silver badge

      "There's no reason Deepfakes can't... invalidate visual news as a source of reliable information etc."

      It's really not such a big deal. Written media has been around for quite a while now, and it's trivial to make it look like someone said something they didn't by simply writing it down. Somehow that hasn't resulted in all written material being considered inherently false and the collapse of democracy. People just need to learn that videos aren't necessarily any more trustworthy than written articles. Which has been the case for a while anyway, since misleading editing has been an issue for a lot longer than Deepfakes have.

      1. Pete 2 Silver badge

        Steering the public

        > Somehow that hasn't resulted in all written material being considered inherently false

        It can be more subtle than a straight true / false.

        Do you remember the demon eyes poster from the 1997 general election?

        Pictures are powerful tools for altering perceptions. Especially as they contain no before / after context. Just look at the photos chosen by news media when they talk about a politician they like, compared with the images they use for politicians (or people) they disapprove of.

        Even articles about non-political issues can provide "nudges" for the readership to draw the desired conclusion, without actually saying you are talking about one minority group, religion, social class or skin colour.

  7. ScissorHands

    Already taken care of

    There will be a paper submitted to this year's SIGGRAPH (Justus Thies et al. 2018) with a method for manipulating pre-recorded video that animates the eyes separately.

  8. bon_the_one

    Max...

    If we mix together deep fake generated stuff with AI, we are finally 20 minutes into the future. It's just taken us 33 years to where this 1985 TV movie predicted...

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089568/

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Revenge of the AI

      I want to do a remake of Max Headroom in which both Max and Edison Carter (his human counterpart) are computer generated.

      1. Mephistro
        Thumb Up

        Re: Revenge of the AI

        I'd gladly pay to watch that show!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do animated fakes pick their nose?

    Scratch their head.

    Rub their eyes.

    Have pimples.

    In future:

    =======

    Really ugly, uncouth politicians.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Do animated fakes pick their nose?

      Aren't those regular politicians?

    2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Do animated fakes pick their nose?

      Really ugly, uncouth politicians.

      Politics is show business for ugly people.

    3. Sanguma Bronze badge

      Re: Do animated fakes pick their nose?

      You have heard about the Fully-Automatic Nuclear-Powered Self-Propelled Nose-Picker, I hope? It;s been developed at enormous cost, by various unnamed companies to help politicos keep their noses clean no matter what Troughs And Orifices they have been inserted and embedded in ...

      The TAO of politics is such a bitch ...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Siicon Snake Oil Buzzword Bingo

    they missed out "Quantum Computing".

  11. Jtom

    All of their analysis would be totally defeated by a pair of sunglasses.

    1. Richard Simpson

      Defeats the point

      Yes, but the entire point of "Deep Fakes" is that the video convincingly looks exactly like the person it purports to show. If that person is wearing sunglasses then it will be much less convincing and defeat the whole point of the thing.

      1. Spanners Silver badge

        Re: Defeats the point

        So if you get filmed, always wear sunglasses. Then if you say anything regrettable, you can just say "deepfake news".

  12. Milton

    Back to the old ways?

    In a way, the arrival of deepfakes tech and its inevitable use as a propaganda tool—yes, inevitable, beyond question: Vlad The Emailer's little crew of scumbags will be all over this like a rash, right now—might actually turn out to have a silver lining.

    The point case is undoubtedly politics. And few would disagree that 21st century politics, even in the west, is suffering a crisis of falsehood, corruption and democratic deficit. So consider: if politicians are routinely faked in video, with footage available everywhere, pretty soon no one with a scrap of sense will believe what they see. Mainstream media will try to defuse this by employing Fair Witnesses to certify that video is true to life, but the level of distrust is still going to be sky high. (Fake video won't harm pathological liars like Trump: it'll actually help him, because he will claim that the asburd lies and contradictions shown on the screen were made up by enemies. After all, grown-ups already find it hard to believe that a human being as patently unfit, ignorant and downright ridiculous as Trump is president at all.)

    A century or more ago, a politician wishing to spread their message, demonstrate intelligence and integrity, show compassion, decency and wisdom, and sell themselves to the voters, did this by frequently appearing in public. They'd get up on a soapbox, schedule a meeting in the town hall or the church or the factory, and spend hours, if necessary, speechifying and taking questions. It was often a rough and rowdy business, because they'd meet both supporters and critics and have to develp masterful powers of persuasion and quick thinking.

    In fact, that is so far from (to take one one example) Theresa May's spectacularly cowardly tour before last year's election—doing anything to avoid a critical question, packing every venue with guaranteed supporters, scripting everything—that you have to wonder whether this might an excellent way to filter out the dross. Instead of the lying 'Career Politician' hypocrites who can barely read a teleprompter and never answer a straight question (the appalling May, again), we will get people who have the mental robustness, commitment and intestinal fortitude to tour the country, to meet ordinary people, to make their case in words folks can understand, to show that they can actually think about and answer tough questions. Is there a better way to establish a persona that voters can relate to, and perhaps have trust in? Far from the shallow, lazy imbeciles so common in Westminster now, we might actually return to having MPs who are intelligent, energetic and willing to work hard for their beliefs.

    All of that said, however, there remains the question of how people communicate their audience experience to each other. An anonymous internet—which personally, I am thinking, has turned out to be a terrible thing, as a place for the worst cowards and vilest bigots to hide—may yet make a mockery of even the best candidates' performances.

    I guess we're going to find out.

    "no one with a scrap of sense" = excluding the frothing, hate-filled denizens of right wing echo chambers, some of whom seriously believe that the colour of the outer millimetre of a person's epidermis means something. Racism: the equivalent of a forehead tattoo saying "Thick as Shit"

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Back to the old ways?

      "In a way, the arrival of deepfakes tech and its inevitable use as a propaganda tool"

      Porn. It's mainly going to be used for porn.

      (I could probably segue into some 'opiate of the masses' type point here, but that would be taking this whole subject too seriously).

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Back to the old ways?

        Porn. It's mainly going to be used for porn.

        Ɐ X:Technology used_for_porn(X)

  13. Richard Simpson

    The real problem with "Deep Fakes"

    Everyone seems concerned that Deep Fakes will create fake news to discredit politicians but I am not so sure that this is the real issue.

    If I was a politician I would welcome the arrival of this technology. Obviously I can use it to discredit my opponents, but far more usefully, I can now visit Miss Whiplash safe in the knowledge that should a video ever emerge I can gaze into the camera with a look of injured innocence and say "Obviously this is a Deep Fake. It's terrible how this technology is being used to mislead my constituents".

    I wouldn't even have to worry about this blink rate question, as I am guessing that statistics of the normal blink rate whilst being "corrected" by Miss Whiplash will be hard to come by.

    1. Craig 2

      Re: The real problem with "Deep Fakes"

      "I can now visit Miss Whiplash safe in the knowledge that should a video ever emerge I can gaze into the camera with a look of injured innocence and say "Obviously this is a Deep Fake."

      That would be a dangerous path to tread as recently proved; it's not against the rules to see Miss Whiplash but it IS against the rules to lie about it....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        it IS against the rules to lie about it....

        Only if you're under oath.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: it IS against the rules to lie about it....

          "Only if you're under oath."

          And even then, "I may have misunderstood the question"

          1. Mike 16 Silver badge

            Re: it IS against the rules to lie about it....

            And if all else fails, just say "Pardon Me"

  14. DropBear
    Facepalm

    Well-meaning but completely misguided effort. Trying to "save" credibility of video recordings is a lost cause and had been for quite a while now. Anyone who still thinks any sequence of moving pictures "proves" anything even after having seen a few modern movies full of CGI (these days obvious only through the clear real-world impossibility of whatever is shown) needs to swap their brain for a non-defective one.

  15. Any mouse Cow turd

    The eyes DON'T have it

    I'm afraid this is old news. Latest research has managed to add in blinking, gaze, facial expressions etc.

    In other words, we're doomed.

    http://www.iflscience.com/technology/deep-fake-videos-created-by-ai-just-got-even-more-terrifying/

    1. ScissorHands
      Thumb Up

      Re: The eyes DON'T have it

      That's the one I was talking about, but I was on my phone at the time and couldn't get the link to add to my post

  16. Herby

    Just a little bit late...

    Only about 34 years or so. We all need to discover "what is the truth" in our own ways. Somehow it was done pretty well before film, video, and computers, so we ought to survive.

    (*SIGH*)

  17. Zwuramunga

    Fixed!

    Next point of detection so we can fix that next please!

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021