The portmanteau “deepfake” (made of “deep learning” and, uh, “fake”) can be a dangerous term. It refers to using artificial intelligence to create synthetic media, like replacing a person’s face with a famous actor to make it seem like the actor is saying those things in a video. It’s a technology with some scary applications in the long term, but right now people appear to be using it for making fun of Tom Cruise and putting pictures of video games into music videos.
That’s where an app called Wombo comes in. The theory behind Wombo is that you can take a selfie and that it will used pre-designed mapping of head, eye, and mouth movement to essentially rig your picture into coming to life. Of course, no one actually uses it that way, because you could just…record yourself doing that as easily. Instead, Wombo gives users the option to upload a picture from their phone and make other things come to life to pre-selected snippets of songs. Which means we get things like this:
— Imran Khan (@imranzomg) March 10, 2021
Honestly I’m not sorry.
Others on social media have been using the app to create similar nightmares using game characters or game music and it’s all either 1) totally broken and funny or 2) realistic, impressive, and it freaks me out.
This app is too powerful pic.twitter.com/aBT4f8HYmA
— joemag (@joemag_games) March 10, 2021
— tommy (@Tommy_GolfR) February 28, 2021
— Kane⨂ (@FullmetalKaneru) March 10, 2021
— Kogath?? (@MHKogath) March 10, 2021
It’s fun, lighthearted, and a little scary.
With advancements in using similar advanced AI to emulate voices and create entire speeches from nothing, the concerns about the technology pile a mile high. People could one day be unwitting participants in an ex’s revenge video, or your older relative could show you proof that the president said he’s out to kill half the country in the rose garden that they saw on Facebook. It’s a frightening disinformational future we’re about to be living in.
Maybe that’s why it’s important to enjoy the innocent fun for now.