We recently talked about the new Adobe software that will allow everyone to easily edit human speech. Now a team of computer scientists at the universities of Germany and California has created what they call photoshoping videos in real time.
Their software is an easy way to hack facial expressions in video recordings. Named Face2Face, it records the face from a source subject, normally a real person, and then translates the expressions to a target video. This means you can record yourself next to a screen with a video of a famous person playing and the target subject will mimic your expressions with astounding accuracy. The software also imitates the illumination and textures of the source video to deliver a photo-realistic result.
The examples presented by the team show footage of politicians and world leaders giving us hints of how this new technology may be used to fabricate videos to defame public figures. It seems to predict a dim future where the media, that used to be a trustworthy source of real events, will be no longer reliable. But it could also be the other way around: since this software is so easy to use (anyone with a computer and a simple camera can create bogus videos) it’s just a matter of time for the Internet to be flooded with thousands of comedy videos of politicians saying whatever you can think of; in this sea of new content it will become evident which video are original and which are not.
This technology has also the potential to revolutionize the movie and marketing industries, actors producers and animators will have a new tool to develop their work in a easier way. Nevertheless it will become harder and harder to distinguish between what’s real and what’s fake.