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Creepy Tech That Will Turbocharge Fake News

December 23, 2016

My buddy Josh Vekhter is visiting from his Ph.D. program in computer science and told me about a couple of incredibly creepy technological advances that will soon make our previous experience of fake news seem quaint.

First, there’s a way to edit someone’s speech:

Next, there’s a way to edit a video to insert whatever facial expression you want (I blame Pixar on this one):

Put those two technologies together and you’ve got Trump and Putin having an entirely fictitious but believable conversation on video.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. December 23, 2016 at 9:03 am

    Question (I didn’t have a chance to watch the whole thing): does this leave a trace? Will digital players be able to tell if sound or video is altered or not? (I am hoping for a video player that flashes an alert if it detects the video it’s playing has been altered.)


    • December 23, 2016 at 9:06 am

      Good question. I have no idea.


    • December 23, 2016 at 7:37 pm

      At the end of his presentation about the audio editing software the presenter said that they are working on watermarking and detection software.


      • Auros
        December 24, 2016 at 4:35 pm

        I expect it will, for quite a long time, remain possible for experts to detect, the same way experts can examine a photoshopped image and detect traces of what’s been done.

        The problem is, this means that any “expert” can say that a real video is faked, and will. And then if a fake video suits the prejudices of the fascist mob, they will ignore real experts saying it’s faked, because after all, we all know our “experts” say that about their videos, and there is no “truth” anyways.


  2. Lars
    December 23, 2016 at 10:06 am

    With computer “scientists”, fake reality and fake science seems to be recurrent themes.


  3. December 23, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    The fake news we have now was effective, but it apparently was just beginner stuff.

    He says at the end of the presentation that they are working on detection and watermarking technology. I wonder how much they will charge for that, and how easy it will be to get?

    I have not heard of any detection technology for the video altering technology.


  4. December 23, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    Perhaps none of this matters. Trump was show to lie frequently and make things up. His supporters did not care.

    Will future voters etc. care about forgeries? I hope courts do though.


  5. December 27, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Maybe journalists will start signing their recordings with pgp?
    That would depend on the reputation of the one doing the signing, of course.
    With so many people distrusting “mainstream media” its usefulness may be limited.


  6. January 4, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    The scariest thing I ever saw. Pure intellectual arrogance, This is worse than developing a smallpox virus synthetically and publishing it –, Worse than developing an atomic bomb (Feynman said he only later thought of it as more than an intellectual problem). Because at least there was some technological hurdle remaining. So I am not engaging in hyperbole.

    Imagine Breitbart getting their hands on this. Fake news? What would fake even mean?

    (As to digital watermarking on voice or images — worked in that 15 years ago. Every scheme was defeated with ease (hell, rotate the image an most schemes become ambiguous). If this intellectually pompous ass truly think he can control this technology that way he is even more clueless than he looks).


  7. January 18, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    What’s funny is that so many of Trump’s debate expressions looked fake-ish like this… but were real! …and I guess any pee-fetish tapes that come forth are not to be believed.


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