Deepfake Videos of Eerie Tom Cruise Revive Debate

For those afraid of a future in which videos of real people are inseparable from computer-generated castes, two recent developments have attracted millions of people, it may seem shocking.

At first, a visual effects artist worked with Tom Cruise impregnator Shockingly accurate video Imitating the actor. The videos, created with the help of machine-learning techniques and known as DeepFac, received millions of views on Ticketock, Twitter and other social networks in late February.

Then, later, MyHeritage, a genealogy website best known for its role Tracking the identity of the Golden State Killer, Offered a tool to digitally animate old photos of loved ones, created a short, looping video, in which people could be seen shaking their heads and even smiling. Was animated using over 26 million images The device, called Deep Nostalgia, As of Monday, the company said.

Video noted the potential of synthetic media, which could lead to significant improvements in the advertising and entertainment industries. But technology can also be used – and has been used to arouse suspicion about legitimate videos and to put people, including children, into pornographic images.

The creators of the viral Tom Cruise Ticketaux said the expertise required to use the technology makes it more difficult, and the company behind the photo-animating tool said that security measures have been put in place to prevent its misuse. Experts say the two examples are not overly worrying – but that they raise questions about the future of the technology that should be considered while it is still in its relative infancy.

“While Deep Nostalgia itself is not comfortable, it is part of this set of tools that is potentially very dangerous,” says Saag Gregory, program director of Witness, a nonprofit organization focused on the ethical use of video, And are experts in artificial intelligence.

The digital imitation of Mr. Cruise was no easy feat. Belgian visual effects artist Chris Ume, who created the video, said in an interview that he needed extensive expertise and time.

Much of what you see in the video is the voice of Balls and Miles Fisher, a Tom Cruise impresident who was already fluent in the actor’s mannerisms and sounds and who bears a strong resemblance even without manipulation. Only the face, from forehead to chin, the real Tom Cruise is featured in the video.

He spent two months training his computer model to create Mr. Cruz’s facial expressions, first feeding videos of random faces before focusing on Mr. Cruz. Mr. Ume spent about 24 hours in production for each minute of video, fine-grained details like eye alignment.

Even if technology improves, videos like theirs will require extensive manual work and a skilled impersonator, he said.

“It’s like a small Hollywood studio with both of us,” he said. “It’s not something you can do on a home computer, pressing a button.”

The Deep Nostalgia tool was created by D-ID, an artificial intelligence company based in Tel Aviv, for My -eritage. D-ID CEO Gil Perry said the company only works with partners who can be trusted not to misuse the technology, and had a four-year relationship with MyHeritage.

Videos created using the tool have watermarks to indicate that they are not real, and the video does not include audio, a decision that Mr. Perry said is difficult to use without purpose.

He said that the technology that drives Deep Nostalgia is “the tip of the iceberg of what we are capable of.”

“The potential for a good part of this technology is endless,” he said.

When optimistic people talk about the potential strength of technology, they often point to its use in advocacy, where it can confront issues and create deeper emotional connections.

In 2017, a non-governmental organization made a video of a Mexican journalist, Javier Arturo Valdez Cordenas, in which he was murdered, in which he was seen pleading for justice for his own murder. Joaquin Oliver’s parents, aged 17, were murdered in a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., In 2018. Digitally revived him For videos promoting gun safety legislation. The police in the Australian state of Victoria used a police officer to commit suicide in 2012 to deliver a message about mental health support.

And “Welcome to chechnya, “A documentary was released last year about anti-gay and lesbian purses in Chechnya, using technology to shield the identity of at least Chechens.”

The effect can also be used for better age or day-age actors in Hollywood, or to closely align lip movements with onscreen language, to improve the dubbing of films and TV shows in different languages. Executives of international companies may also look more natural when addressing employees who speak different languages.

But critics fear the technique will be further abused as it reforms, particularly to create pornography that puts a person’s face on a person’s body.

Nina Schick, the author of “Deepfacus: The Cumming Infoclips” stated that the first deep pornography took hours to make a video, so celebrities set specific goals. But as technology becomes more advanced, less content will be required to make videos, putting more women and children at risk.

A tool on the messaging app Telegram that allows users to create fake nude images from an uploaded photo has already been used hundreds of thousands of times, According to Buzzfeed News.

“This will become an issue, which can affect everyone, especially those who do not have the resources to protect themselves,” Ms Schick said.

Technology can also have a destabilizing effect on global affairs, as politicians claim that the videos, including real ones, are fake to benefit legal gainers Robert Chesney and Danielle Citrone. Called “false dividends”.

In Gabon, opposition leaders argued that a video of President Ali Bongo Ondimba is delivering a New Year address in 2019 Was fake in an attempt to cover health problems. Last year, a Republican candidate for a House seat in the St. Louis area Claimed The video of George Floyd’s death in police custody was staged digitally.

As technology advances, according to Mr. Gregory, an artificial intelligence expert, it will be used more widely, but its effects are already evident.

“People are always trying to think of the right depth when it is not necessary for harmful or beneficial use,” he said.

In introducing the Deep Nostalgia tool, MyHeritage addressed the issue of consent, asking users to “please use this feature on your historical photos and on photos featuring survivors without their permission.” Mr. Ume, who created Mr. Cruise’s DeepFac, said he had no contact with the actor or his representatives.

Of course, those who have died cannot agree to be shown in the video. And it matters if dead people – especially celebrities – can be digitally resurrected, as artist Bob Ross was Sell ​​mountain dew, Or was in the last year as Robert Kardashian A gift to his daughter Kim Kardashian West Her husband, Kanye West.

Henry Ajdar, a deep researcher, envisioned a future in which our own voices could be used with assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, to keep us connected with loved ones even after our deaths. Or, as shown in an episodeblack Mirror, “All aspects of our personality can be simulated after death, trained by our voices on social media.

But this raises a difficult question, he said: “In which cases do we need to revive them for the consent of the deceased?”

“These questions make you feel uncomfortable, something seems wrong or strange, but it’s hard to know if it’s just because it’s new or if it hints at a deeper intuition about a problem,” Mr. Azer he said.

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