Researchers have figured out how to fake news video with AI

If you thought the rampant spread of text-based fake news was as bad as it could get, think again. Generating fake news videos that are undistinguishable from real ones is growing easier by the day. A team of computer scientists at the University of Washington have used artificial intelligence to render visually convincing videos of Barack Obama saying things he’s said before, but in a totally new context. In a paper published this month, the researchers explained their methodology: Using a neural network trained on 17 hours of footage of the former US president’s weekly addresses, they were able to generate mouth shapes from arbitrary audio clips of Obama’s voice. The shapes were then textured to photorealistic quality and overlaid onto Obama’s face in a different “target” video. Finally, the researchers retimed the target video to move Obama’s body naturally to the rhythm of the new audio track. This isn’t the first study to demonstrate the modification of a talking head in a video. As Quartz’s Dave Gershgorn previously reported, in June of last year, Stanford researchers published a similar methodology for altering a person’s pre-recorded facial expressions in real-time to mimic the expressions of another person making…


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