Fake News Is About To Get Faker

In the New Yorker this week, Joshua Rothman reports on the latest in AI technology and the ability for engineers to completely manipulate video.

For instance, in the video below, Jordan Peele, of Key and Peele fame, shows how easy it’s done using Obama. (Former president of the somewhat realer news.)

How is this happening?

Today, researchers have access to systems like ImageNet, a site run by computer scientists at Stanford and Princeton which brings together fourteen million photographs of ordinary places and objects, most of them casual snapshots posted to Flickr, eBay, and other Web sites. Initially, these images were sorted into categories (carrousels, subwoofers, paper clips, parking meters, chests of drawers) by tens of thousands of workers hired through Amazon Mechanical Turk. Then, in 2012, researchers at the University of Toronto succeeded in building neural networks capable of categorizing ImageNet’s images automatically; their dramatic success helped set off today’s neural-networking boom. In recent years, YouTube has become an unofficial ImageNet for video. Efros’s lab has overcome the site’s “platform bias”—its preference for cats and pop stars—by developing a neural network that mines, from “life style” videos such as “My Spring Morning Routine” and “My Rustic, Cozy Living Room,” clips of people opening packages, peering into fridges, drying off with towels, brushing their teeth. This vast archive of the uninteresting has made a new level of synthetic realism possible.

Hence, you get a start-up boom. From an April 2018 article from The Verge:

Researchers have developed tools that let you perform face swaps like the one above in real time; Adobe is creating a “Photoshop for audio” that lets you edit dialogue as easily as a photo; and a Canadian startup named Lyrebird offers a service that lets you fake someone else’s voice with just a few minutes of audio.

Like, WOW. Total recall and all that is kind of here. If this is going to happen, though, I think I’ll take a vacation memory to Costa Rica over Mars. Just writing to my current brain and memory here to let it know. Don’t go to Mars, Dan! (Quaid?)

November 8, 2018

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