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Deep Fakes – indistinguishable from magic


August 2018.

Direct link.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Arthur C. Clarke

When so-called “deep fakes” popped up in late December on Reddit, they caused quite a stir. At SRF Data, about half a year later, we wanted to explain the technology with self-made examples. Without external help, we created a series of deep fake experiments ourselves, using an open-source AI framework. To our surprise, we could produce an astonishingly good fake, replacing the face of one of our most prominent news anchorwomen.

In a lengthy article, we then went into the nitty-gritty of how the technology behind deep fakes work – publishing probably the nerdiest article about deep fakes in mass media up to that date.

To explain the subject, we only used animated GIFs like the one above, and some demonstration videos.

How the algorithm learns to construct a new face from a given one

Aside the usual broadcast and online channels, we also released a short Youtube video for a younger audience that explains what deep fakes are – and what dangers there could be. To demonstrate this, we faked the face of a famous (straight) Swiss comedian into a gay porn. While he had been involved from the beginning, you can see from his expression that he’s not very pleased once he sees the results.

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