A research team from the University of Washington has used artificial intelligence technology to make what you could call a “fake news” video of Barack Obama giving a speech he didn’t give.
The team didn’t exactly write the speech themselves, though it’s reasonable to think they could have. Instead, they took audio clips from a variety of real Obama speeches and dropped them into video of a single Oval Office address.
This isn’t like those always enjoyable Bad Lip Reading videos, where you have video in search of different words that will fit it. No: the researchers altered the actual video of the Oval Office address so that Obama looked like he was saying things they wanted him to say.
In order to “train” Videobama to speak like real Obama, the researchers fed hours and hours of video of Obama speaking to a neural network until it learned how to mimic his mouth, face, and head when any word was dropped in from a separate audio source.
You could call it virtual ventriloquism: the Obama on the screen is a virtual puppet that will automatically lip-sync whatever words you put in its mouth.
Presidentriloquism. If you didn’t know this was faked and weren’t even thinking about the possibility, it would be unlikely this video would give you pause, especially if you were watching casually, in passing. Keep in mind, too, that although this technology is in its infancy, Moore’s law explains that, generally speaking, computational power doubles roughly every two years. So look the fuck out. Also, this is already pretty damn convincing.Read more