back to article Deepfake 3.0 (beta), the bad news: This AI can turn ONE photo of you into a talking head. Good news: There is none

Remember that artificially intelligent software that could transform lifeless still images, such as portrait paintings, into moving heads? Well, you can now take a single photo or picture of someone and animate it to make them say specific words and sentences, using AI algorithms. This machine-learning code can take a person's …

  1. Brian Miller

    Altered congressional record

    Currently members of Congress can submit "corrections" for, allegedly, grammar, etc. Now imagine a future where the government will also have video and audio "corrected."

    Hello, 1984. Stalin never had it so good!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Altered congressional record

      Trump already enjoys this, he says something untrue and his supporters believe and spread his lies. Fox "News" is even complicit in helping him spread some, though they do correct him some of the time. Must be quite the tug of war in their newsroom between the journalists who want to report the truth (perhaps with a right wing slant to counter what they see as left wing slant from other sources, but still truth) and the partisans like Hannity who are totally in the tank for him and are willing to spread big lies to further his cause.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Altered congressional record

        Keep your delusional Politics out of here basement dweller.

  2. Long John Brass

    Perhaps a good thing?

    People will have to learn to see what our fearless leaders *actually* do and not what they say?

    Lets be honest, it's not like these people don't lie for a living :/

    1. Notas Badoff

      Re: Perhaps a good thing?

      Hmm, interesting... If the net effect becomes the discounting of sound bites and engineered patriotic camera shots, in favor of asking what of actual substance this candidate is really proposing, yes, that's a good thing. But I'm thinking most people are too shallow to think deeply.

      But hey, get people used to faked presentations, and that'll save the candidates from the trouble of actually tattooing the flag onto their faces!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Perhaps a good thing?

        How do we even know *who* is doing something if this tech is widely used?

      2. Long John Brass

        Re: Perhaps a good thing?

        I was thinking even further than that; Maybe it's time people learned to stop listening to what our fearless leaders say and start watching what they actually do.

        Has incomes gone up or down

        Has spending power gone up or down

        are there really more good jobs or more shit minimum wage

        Is crime actually up or down

        etc etc etc

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Forrest Gump through the ages

    Talking to Alexander (the Great to be), Forrest mumbles something about the blinding dawn sun, and Alexander looks off East and ponders...

  4. cantankerous swineherd

    real time you say? handy for ministry of justice video links from prison.

  5. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

    Minitrue going to work overtime soon.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The end?

    However, imagine a future in which these fake computer-crafted videos are good enough to fool enough of the population to spread fake news, or doctor evidence to frame people for crimes they haven’t committed

    If it gets that bad, and the populace are well aware of the fact, then I don't see how video news reporting can survive at all. Likewise the use of video as evidence.

    People will only trust what they see and hear themselves. Actually that's pretty much where we're at already.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: The end?

      People will only trust what they see and hear themselves. Actually that's pretty much where we're at already.

      It seems most people only trust what they want to hear or believe and the rest is Fake News.

      I don't believe that's entirely new though. Just more outrageously blatant in recent times, with more people being willing to pretend to believe something they would like to be true even though they know it to be a lie.

      1. Clunking Fist

        Re: The end?

        Actually, we are in an unusually great time as we don't have to BE where something is happening, like in the olden days. We can watch video. And as long as the video is unedited, we can make our own minds up (cough, Covington kids). This is the power of youtube.

        However, soon, with this AI, we'll have to go back to GOING to the scene of activity to see or hear for ourselves.

        1. Kiwi
          Big Brother

          Re: The end?

          And as long as the video is unedited, we can make our own minds up

          That's the thing though... I've seen "unedited" video of stuff happening in my area, been able to look out the window and see that no, the news report is wrong because if it was right the event they're saying is happening "right now" would be in sight of my kitchen window (this includes police siege of a 'gang house", large scrub fire on a certain hill and so on).

          I remember in the 90's seeing unedited footage of a plane crash overseas. The report was that almost everyone on the plane died. In a panic I rang a friend's family because she was flying at that time, probably on that plane (same origin&destination). No worry, they'd heard from her. The plane had burned but everyone got off OK. The footage was unedited, but the narrative was different from reality. It's these events that led to my utter distrust of NZ news media.

          I've seen footage of large crowds of rioters rampaging through the streets of foreign cities. I've later found from people I know in those cities that the footage in question doesn't come from their city, or that yes 20 people were getting a bit uppity and broke some windows but the crowds of thousands? Oh that was from when the soccer team lost the final last season.

          With so many people having access to international news media today, it's harder for them to completely fake events as they have done in recent years, but it's easy for them to exaggerate things to a degree (one just needs to watch Faux news, or so I hear) - and it's easier still for them to do the opposite - to hide events by simply not reporting them. They have so many other stories to chose from they don't even have to make stuff up any more. Showing Chump's supporters and haters in a story for "balance" - well how about find mostly complete morons and rather inarticulate people from one side, and the most intelligent and articulate ones you can from the other side - there's your balance... Not our fault the other side are a bunch of morons and this is the best we could find...

  7. Flywheel

    Eurovision! Yay!

    they’re amusing enough to not really be taken seriously

    Yeah, and seeing Rasputin singing so well, why don't we just dispense with the [alleged] corruption, expense and poor-quality pseudo-entertainment that is Eurovision and just get participating countries to submit a deepfake? And maybe save the BBC licence fee payers' money by having it presented by a deepfake Graham Norton - what's that you say? They're already using one?!

  8. James 51
    Big Brother

    If you type in Nancy Pelosi's name into google in the top five results is her 'drunken' speech. Not the articles showning it is clearly a fake, the lie is more popular than the truth. You also see the footage that was altered of a reporter in a white house press conference to make it look like he was trying to shove someone. Fakes are already out there and the people that want to believe they are true are taking it in uncritically and ignoring anything that counters their world view. Stuff like this has consequences.

    1. FlossyThePig

      I have just typed "Nancy Pelosi" into Google (and DuckDuckGo). Initial results did not include anything about her 'drunken' speech. Filter on videos only and the first listed is:

      "Real v fake: debunking the 'drunk' Nancy Pelosi footage

      1. MrXavia

        Search results differs by country..... Maybe where he searches that is what he sees?

        1. Wellyboot Silver badge

          That's the problem with 'intelligent' search engines using previous search history to adjust the results.

          Lets face it - learning to use any search engine properly isn't going to catch on with the public.

  9. BitCoward

    Well that's fuckin' cheery

    Life in the 21st C just keeps getting better doesn't it...

  10. Dan 55 Silver badge

    The camera doesn't lie...

    ... but you can't trust a word the 64-core Xeon Phi with water-cooled GPU says.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They hope to make their results more convincing in future with more realistic movements

    that "debate" about future prime minister, last night at bbc1... deep fakes are already here! :(

  12. PK

    digital signatures

    Isn't there the possibility of videos being digitally signed so that we at least know that they've been published by a (hopefully) reputable news organisation, government or whoever? Ok, these days you get lots of shadowy sites masquerading as news but at least you could see who is publishing something and make a judgement.

    1. Thought About IT

      Re: digital signatures

      Would you believe anything that was digitally signed by Fox News? Likewise, would any of their viewers believe anything that was digitally signed by Channel 4 News?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: digital signatures

        while I share the sentiment about fox news and others in the same camp, I would have exactly the same revelations about the beeb and others. I think "vision", and I see a little Lenin and his pals...

  13. STOP_FORTH Silver badge

    Easy to spot

    The lip-sync is far too good for these to be real videos.

    (Disclaimer - disgruntled broadcast engineer.)

  14. Kiwi

    It's worse....

    or doctor evidence to frame people for crimes they haven’t committed –

    It's worse than that.

    All security camera footage is now suspect. Most of it wasn't too great in the first place, but given that this will soon become trivial to fake.....

    Now, any crim has the ability to cast doubt on any footage of them. "Ladies and gentlemen, there is the easy possibility to alter videos - just watch this brief documentary".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's worse....

      I can imagine people faking crimes to get someone else convicted.....

      1. Kiwi

        Re: It's worse....

        I can imagine people faking crimes to get someone else convicted.....

        As far as I know it already happens. I'm certain some time with Mr Ducky will provide you with at least a few documented cases (not even considering the likes of "Arthur Allan Thomas" where the cops themselves planted the crucial evidence (literally put shell casings from Thomas's .22 on the ground at the murder site to get him convicted).

        You know how DNA "evidence" is used often to put someone at a crime scene?

        How often is that 'evidence' something really hard to obtain, like "hair samples"?

        Do you know how easy it is to collect samples of someone's hair without their even knowing?

        What about semen samples? What about guys who use condoms, take them off, tie the end in a knot, and throw them in the trash? Dunno how well that stuff would actually survive those conditions, but I sure you can figure a few ways to get someone charged with something after a little dumpster-diving (I'll leave it up to the reader to decide if there's a deliberate or accidental pun there).

        Blood? Well, maybe a little harder. But I do have a great friend who owes me a few favours, and he runs the local blood donation van....

        Evidence is not as strong as most people imagine. I don't want those who are guilty of serious crimes, but knowing how easy it is to manipulate evidence and manipulate juries - I'd never be willing to convict someone even if they confessed to the crime - and yes we have quite a famous murder case where a person of lesser mental capacity was conned into confessing - the wikipedia article is bad enough reading and I'd suggest you don't look to far into this unless you want a greater understanding why I hate NZ cops (and no, this guy is not even closely linked to my family as far as I know) - and why I question all evidence, how and where it was gathered, and whether or not there are reasonable grounds to suspect the evidence - was it there by natural accidental causes (ie the hair fell off my head while I was committing the crime) or other means (you grabbed a few strands from the back of my chair when I went out to make us a coffee, and later placed them where you were committing a crime)

        Now with video being able to be faked so easily, it soon theoretically will be easy for me to fake someone else committing an offence and I can even leave physical evidence behind to prove it was them. Here's the CCTV footage officer, please carefully check out the areas he walked, you may find something of further proof. Here's the tissue you see him dropping into the wastebasket as well.


  15. abufrejoval

    Are *you* real, Katyanna?

    Given that one or the other editors here at The Register seems to have picked up a foreign language or deux, I cannot help that "Quach" sounds very much like "Quatsch", which means 'nonsense' to Germans... which begs the question above, Alias o'Dabbs?

    Story is too surreal for a fake and too well done for a run of word2vec inference.

    1. Katyanna Quach

      Re: Are *you* real, Katyanna?

      I'm real, and I've been working at El Reg for over three years :')

  16. Eddy Ito

    The grainy Einstein and Rasputin vids are obviously fakes because their heads move and distort too much. I can't imagine anyone singing with their beard tied down to a table to keep it so eerily still. The last set is better but each clip is only a few seconds and I expect the longer it is the flaws will become more obvious.

    1. Kiwi

      The last set is better but each clip is only a few seconds and I expect the longer it is the flaws will become more obvious.

      That may be true, but as the computers and coders learn, as hardware gets better...

      Remember "Asteroids" from the spacies parlours in the 1970's and 80's? Remember how the games were all monochromatic line drawings, ships, targets and pyrotechnics all the same colour? Pacman with it's rather basic shapes and simple colours? And those huge cabinets filled with hardware to make the screens come alive?

      Now we carry devices in our pockets with more computing power than was in those entire buildings, capable of rendering quite high quality graphics in real time. And while these days we're seeing some excessive code bloat (ie programmers as a whole tend to get the code functioning but never optimised), some tightening of algorithms could make up for the ground Moore's law might be loosing to physical limits (or to purchase limits - given what my CPU and GPU can do now, why do I need more power?)

  17. Big_Boomer

    So, "I have no recollection of those events" finally has some meaning. The Pollies will love it as they can go back to their bad-mouthing and philandering ways with impunity.

  18. RobThBay

    I thought Rasputin would sound more like Tom Baker (Nicholas & Alexandra movie).


  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not all bad news.

    Those of us sick of overpaid talking heads reading the news can be enthused by one day someone like clark gable doing the 10 o'clock broadcast. And Trump may never leave us as he pops up in the media for centuries to come as the generic replacement for evil clowns.

  20. Nick Gisburne

    Only trust high quality video sources

    From now on, we will have to assume that only high quality video sources are not faked, because the fakers cannot do 4K video, and maybe even good 1080p, convincingly. The fakers will catch up, but they will need to be an order of magnitude better to fool us - the more detail used by a video format, the more it can be analysed for forgery and fakery. Courts will presumably at some point no longer allow 'grainy' footage to be used as evidence, being too unreliable and easy to manipulate. Forensic tools will improve, and so will the tech needed to avoid them. It's an arms race. Interesting to see where this goes.

    1. Long John Brass

      Re: Only trust high quality video sources

      Thats just a matter of CPU/GPU grunt... There will always be more horse power cheaper in the future; And if you are well heeled then the sky is the limit.

      How about *EVERY* digital camera still or video with a crypto chip that signs the incoming bit-stream and stores that as frame metadata somewhere?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I eagerly await the first non-existent person to get elected to a position of power

    Politicians have long been without soul, backbone, or conscience. How long before we elect a politician that doesn't exist at all?

  22. Clunking Fist

    So, did Sleepy Uncle Joe REALLY promise to cure cancer if you vote for him? Or was it a Fox News AI project.

  23. AdamWill

    not really bothered

    I dunno, this is the one tech scare I'm not really buying.

    "However, imagine a future in which these fake computer-crafted videos are good enough to fool enough of the population to spread fake news, or doctor evidence to frame people for crimes they haven’t committed – all automatically at the press of a few buttons."

    Yeah... no. I mean, I believe lots of stuff I read in the newspapers! And even that's printed on websites, like, er, this one! If El Reg posts a story that's clearly straight news (not a joke story) and quotes Larry Ellison or someone, I believe Larry Ellison said those words. But...El Reg actually has shocking advanced technology with which they could fake these quotes! Using one of these "keyboards" they could type some words Larry Ellison never said, and pretend he said them! Surely the end of the world is nigh?

    Well, no. We trust words (even though we know they can be made up) *when the source is trustworthy*, as defined by the whole framework of responsible media organizations and the law and so on. We don't just trust anything any idiot writes down.

    Same deal with photos. For a few years people believed photos were always genuine and true. Then it became apparent that they could be faked convincingly, fairly easily. Sometime about, oh, 1890. People adjusted. Now they don't just believe unquestioningly in any photo they see.

    So it will go with video. In a few years everyone will know you can't just trust any video you see, like you can't trust every word you read or every photo you see, and things will be fine.

  24. Dave 125

    Can't believe they made Rasputin sing and didn't use Rah Rah Rasputin

    1. STOP_FORTH Silver badge

      Not to mention Einstein a go go.

      1. STOP_FORTH Silver badge

        Or the woo woos from Sympathy for the Devil?

    2. Spudley

      Came here to say the same thing.

      Those crazy Russians.

  25. cutterman

    What about the buh-buh-brilliant Max Headroom???


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

Other stories you might like