back to article These boffins' deepfake AI vids are next-gen. But don't take our word for it. Why not ask Zuck or Kim Kardashian...

Once again, artificially intelligent software has been demonstrated automatically editing videos of talking heads to make them say things they haven’t actually uttered. And it's getting better at it. Today, it's altering footage of boffins, and Mark Zuckerberg and Kim Kardashian, but next it could be you. Probably not. But …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "We are concerned about such deception and misuse"

    Well then don't make it available via a web portal. As long as you're the only ones tinkering with the thing, we should all be rather safe.

    1. Craig 2

      Re: "We are concerned about such deception and misuse"

      The only down side to making it publicly available is that all the other people currently researching the same techniques can cross-check their work and maybe gain insights into other solutions, thus improving their own.

      " It was scary stuff, but radically advanced. It gave us ideas, took us in new directions. I mean, things we would have never..." - Miles Dyson

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge
        Terminator

        Re: "We are concerned about such deception and misuse"

        +1 but you missed the obvious icon -->

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "We are concerned about such deception and misuse"

      you can't be serious, they didn't create them to keep it on an offline hard drive, they made them to make handsome, hopefully HUGE profit by selling their idea to an "undisclosed" buyer. All their "concern about such deception and misuse" is the usual hypocritical pretenses.

    3. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: "We are concerned about such deception and misuse"

      The very frequency with which these things emerge these days prove it's almost inconsequential what you do with this kind of tech; the point is, assuming you can just bury it or something and the world will be safe for the foreseeable future is flat out delusional. Someone else right behind you will perfect it very soon after you, and will end up using it for whatever you didn't want to see it used. Which is not to say you should dump it on the world because "oh well", but you should be aware it makes almost zero difference whether or not you do.

    4. NoneSuch
      Coat

      Re: "We are concerned about such deception and misuse"

      This is why I talk in a pirate voice in public. Anyone catches me on video and deep fakes me, will just embarrass themselves.

  2. Chris Fox
    Joke

    Bill Posters and the law

    The article doesn't say whether there is a risk that Bill Posters will be prosecuted. I think we should be told.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Bill Posters and the law

      Justice can be very slow, the first time I saw the announcement that Bill Posters would be prosecuted was in the '60s and I have seen that announcement again recently, so has justice been done before and the current announcement is a case of recidivism or is the original case taking a long time to get to court?

      1. Christoph Silver badge

        Re: Bill Posters and the law

        The case got delayed because they couldn't be sure whether it was him or Bill Stickers who did it.

        1. VikiAi Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Bill Posters and the law

          Yet the sheep dog trials go ahead.

    2. Efer Brick
      Thumb Up

      Re: Bill Posters and the law

      Bill Posters is innocent!

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Bill Posters and the law

        We now have the video to prove it!

  3. FredBloggs61

    But, but, but the camera never lies?

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Meh

      It still doesn't.

      But photos have been doctored later since time immemorial. Give it a decade and we'll be looking at this and wondering how anyone could possibly be taken in by something so obviously faked...

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Winston Smith will be out of a job, this will allow the Ministry of Truth to correct misconceptions with far greater speed and far less cost to the taxpayer.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Which make me wonder where all the "deepfake" audio development is happening. As per the article, currently all the emphasis seems to be on video and then getting people to voice them in the hope they sound enough like the target to fool the majority.

          1. Mage Silver badge

            re: "deepfake" audio development

            "Program for a Puppet", Roland Perry.

          2. The Indomitable Gall

            " Which make me wonder where all the "deepfake" audio development is happening. "

            Baidu and Adobe, I believe.

            Deepmind, Google and Microsoft have been working towards it too, but I think Baidu and Adobe are the only ones who've demonstrated actual computer-faked spoken speech so far.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Using KK to demonstrate deep fake is irony indeed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think she's plasticy rather than irony

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I thought she's a bit of an obvious choice really, what with her being married to CannyAI West

      1. Hermann

        Underrated comment

      2. Spacedinvader
        Thumb Up

        Comment of the week needs to come back!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Using KK to demonstrate deep fake is irony indeed.

      Yeah, she's more of a *shallow* fake...

  5. Wellyboot Silver badge
    WTF?

    Seems good enough to fool most people to me

    >>>rated to be real 59.6 per cent of the time. So, yeah, they’re not convincing enough right now to dupe most people.<<<

    I may be out on a limb here but 59.6% does equal 'most' to me, it certainly a lot more than the 40.4% left who called fake or don't know.

    1. adam 40

      Re: Seems good enough to fool most people to me

      Too right - "most" is > 50%. Last time I looked.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Seems good enough to fool most people to me

      Or to put it bluntly, if you can convince 59% of the population, then you can get yourself elected.

      Although given that not everyone bothers to vote (fucking useless slackers, just spoil your ballot if you don't like any of them but at least fucking participate), you only need about 30% of the population to get elected in the UK (The Conservative Party got about 29% of the total population to get into power in 2017 [src]).

      1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

        Re: Seems good enough to fool most people to me

        not everyone bothers to vote (fucking useless slackers, just spoil your ballot if you don't like any of them but at least fucking participate)

        Why should anyone waste their time spoiling a ballet when it changes nothing and has no effect?

        Merely participating perpetuates "the system is working just fine and there's no need to change anything".

        It would be different if the number of spoiled ballot papers were more publicised but, until they are, driving down turnout to such a level that it's obvious the system is not fit for purpose is the most effective way to have discontent widely observed.

        1. Wellyboot Silver badge

          Re: Seems good enough to fool most people to me

          Spoilt ballot counts are given in UK elections, it's just that the number is rarely of any significance and hence ignored by the media. If you can convince enough people to spoil their papers to make a difference you might as well stand for election yourself and put a voice to the problem.

        2. noboard

          Re: Seems good enough to fool most people to me

          "Why should anyone waste their time spoiling a ballet when it changes nothing and has no effect?"

          On its own it has no effect and shouldn't do, but if everyone who doesn't vote spoiled their ballot paper it would have a very significant effect.

          If you don't vote, nothing can be inferred from it. Not all people fail to cast a vote because they don't believe in the system, so you can't say X people didn't vote so the system must be broken. Having an election where a large proportion of votes were spoiled would send out a signal things were broken.

          If 25% of the electorate spoiled their ballot and the highest candidate only had 20% of the vote, they would have a very hard time justifying the candidate should take up a seat at Parliament. Having 25% of people not participate can never be allowed to mean anything, as the meaning will be inferred by the people in power and we don't want that.

          So if you want to change the system, participate in the current one, otherwise don't complain you're being ignored.

        3. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

          Re: Seems good enough to fool most people to me

          "It would be different if the number of spoiled ballot papers were more publicised but, until they are, driving down turnout to such a level that it's obvious the system is not fit for purpose is the most effective way to have discontent widely observed."

          What would you suggest we replace our democracy with, comrade?

        4. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: Seems good enough to fool most people to me

          Why should anyone waste their time spoiling a ballet when it changes nothing and has no effect?

          Vote for some obscure 3rd-party candidate then. Heck, your vote is worth more to *them* than to the "major" parties the mindless masses are voting for (such as getting enough votes to gain official status for that party).

      2. DougS Silver badge

        When it comes to elections

        You don't need to fool many people at all, because people WANT to believe something bad about the "other guy". Even if it the video looks a bit odd to many of them, and some people are saying "using analysis program XYZ it is clearly a fake" if the "other guy" is on video doing/saying something bad they'll believe it.

        A lot of that will be because the hardcore believers (who would follow their guy even if he murdered someone in front of them) shout the loudest and will proclaim anything criticizing the legitimacy of the video is propaganda from the other side because he got caught. That's the amplification you get from social media, the hardcore believers are the ones posting thousands of times to get their message across and drown out more reasonable voices. That makes it easier for those reasonable voices to question themselves and come to accept the view of the hardcore believers.

    3. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Wellyboot

      "59.6% does equal 'most' to me"

      Yeah, late night brain burp. Wasn't caught in the edit, but now fixed. Please don't forget to email corrections@theregister.com if you spot anything wrong. We can't catch every slip up.

      C.

  6. caffeine addict Silver badge

    This is a good thing...

    So, deep fakes are getting good enough that they're convincing. Good enough that you can make anyone say or do anything.

    This is great for privacy.

    After a few years of embarrassment, people will stop believing video and we can all go back to doing whatever the hell we want without fear that someone is recording us. Huzzah!

    1. Chozo
      Devil

      Re: This is a good thing...

      After a few years of embarrassment?

      Spitting Image ran for over a decade and all they had to work with was latex caricatures

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is a good thing...

        Hmm, latex.

        No, wait, wrong forum.

        Yeah, slow day here :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is a good thing...

      Or people will believe what they want to believe and the fakes will cause even more polarization and eventually enough alienation to start another war. Duck and cover again, people?

      1. caffeine addict Silver badge

        Re: This is a good thing...

        I was being optimistic. It happens about twice a year. Don't go and ruin it for me.

      2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: This is a good thing...

        Nah, the only thing that's really changing is that it's easy for anyone to do instead of the professionals and the [insert gov't TLA here].

  7. BebopWeBop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Well using Zuck as an example and posting it to Farcebook was great! We will see how good their 'this is a fake' warnings are and I'll bet there will be improvement, especially as the Streisland effect comes into play.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Flashed list of IP addresses.....

    ....when I hit the "Back" button in Chromium when these comments are displayed.

    Anyone else seeing this artifact?

    Fedora30/XFCE4/Kernel5.1.6/Chromium73.0.3683.86

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Flashed list of IP addresses.....

      I saw it from the outset. It seemed to be associated with an SVG graphics tag. Was also seeing weirdly angled text.

      1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

        Re: Flashed list of IP addresses.....

        Me too - very weird

      2. joeW

        Re: Flashed list of IP addresses.....

        I was seeing angled text protruding from both of the embedded Instagram posts, could be related to those perhaps?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Flashed list of IP addresses.....

      You too eh? I thought it was an artifact due to all the ad and script blockers I use.

      Maybe not.

      Don't get it with Brave Browser tho.

      Kde Neon 15.6 / vivaldi browser /

    3. John 48

      Re: Flashed list of IP addresses.....

      Funny looking IP address though, e.g. "C519.376.22.342" or "513.342.28.377" etc.

      IP V4.5 by any chance?

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Flashed list of IP addresses.....

        Those may actually be SVG drawing markup, though it seems weird for the format.

        1. moopy

          Re: Flashed list of IP addresses.....

          I think it is ... and relating to the instagram content. I'm running uMatrix plugin and only when I enabled elements from instagram.com (script, XHR & frame, I think) did they render correctly.

    4. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Flashed list of IP addresses.....

      I'm glad that it's not just me. What a mess.

      Can't be IP address with those numbers so far beyond 255... ...right ?

      "...570.674,65.562 570.82,62.369 C570.966,59.17 571,58.147 571,50 C571,41.851 570.966,40.831 570.82,37.631"></path></g></g></g></svg>"

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Flashed list of IP addresses.....

        They're not. What you're seeing is SVG markup: in this case, it's describing a drawing path (you have the back end of the <path> tag). You'll see commas as well as periods. The numbers are actually floats and seem to be following a pattern of FROM,TO FROM,TO...

  9. Mage Silver badge
    Coat

    Is it fake?

    I mean, is it not just mindreading tech being used on Zuck?

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    59.6% is most people

    "the edited videos were rated to be real 59.6 per cent of the time. So, yeah, they’re not convincing enough right now to dupe most people."

    It sounds very much like it does dupe most people.

    Even if it was less than 50%, you could say the same of Donald Trump - but look where we are anyway...

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: 59.6% is most people

      Yeah, yeah, we know - late-night blunder that wasn't caught. We can't catch every error. Email corrections@theregister.com if you spot anything wrong, please, and we'll fix it.

      C.

  11. SVV Silver badge

    Truly terrifying thought

    Polish this up a bit until it's really convincing, and videos might be created that convince people that Trump, Kardashian and Zuckerberg have said things that are truthful, interesting or decent.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kim Kardashian

    Artificial yes, intelligence no.

  13. John Savard Silver badge

    One Legitimate Use

    This technology, while very dangerous, does have one potential legitimate use.

    Movies could now be dubbed in other languages without worrying about making the new dialogue match how the actors' lips moved in the original. So more accurate translations of the dialogue could be used, and yet the actors would look to be saying their lines with completely accurate speech movements, as if the movie were originally made in the target language.

    This would make a better moviegoing experience available to people speaking less-popular languages that don't have large economies to support a large movie-making industry.

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: One Legitimate Use

      It would simply give even greater dominance to US Culture and US producers and destroy the local TV & movie production industry.

      Having more imported movies is NOT "make a better moviegoing experience"

    2. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: One Legitimate Use

      Movies could now be dubbed in other languages without worrying about making the new dialogue match how the actors' lips moved in the original. So more accurate translations of the dialogue could be used, and yet the actors would look to be saying their lines with completely accurate speech movements, as if the movie were originally made in the target language.

      Whatever was wrong with subtitling? I much prefer that to dubbing. Must be weird watching dubbed stuff and hearing same voice associated with several different actors (as I seriously doubt there is sufficiently large pool of just voice actors)

      As a bonus, subtitling might even help learning a foreign language.

  14. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Alert

    SPECTRE

    All that is missing from the video featuring Zuckerberg is a white cat

  15. DropBear Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Finally got around to actually look at the Zuck video - voice/tone discrepancies aside, hooooooooly crap is it bad. The mouth movement is barely in the most tenuous of relationships with the sound - if I were watching this at home I'd be reaching for the "shift voice sync +/-" button after the third second of it, and it still wouldn't match. I have no doubt lots of people would take it at face value, but anyone feeling a modicum of scepticism should immediately realize it's a) a fake and b) a pretty bad one.

  16. Big Al 23

    I knew when Kim announced...

    ...that she wanted to become a lawyer that the video was fake.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: I knew when Kim announced...

      Who knows, she could get nominated for Attorney General by Trump...

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-us-canada-48631992/kim-kardashian-west-talks-criminal-justice-at-white-house

  17. croc

    The problem with technology is, if it is available it will be used. The problem with people is, half of them are dumber than the average...

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      and half are more evil than the average - not good odds for a bright future!

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        It all depends on where the average lies, whether the average is mean or median, and how spread out are these half from the average.

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