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This AI video of Barack Obama is the disturbing future of fake news

Former US president, Barack Obama. (Source: Twitter)
Former US president, Barack Obama. (Source: Twitter)
An exercise in creating a humorous faked video of Barack Obama is in reality a disturbing preview of how AI can be used to manipulate ordinary people. Ironically, it turns out, AI might also be our savior from fake news at the same time.

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A lot has been said about the phenomena of fake news, election rigging and voter manipulation. While there are certainly members of the public that are gullible, at least the average person could spot a faked video from a mile away. Until now that it is. The video embedded below of Barack Obama delivering a fake PSA was created by Jordan Peele and Buzzfeed and will leave you in no doubt that our imagined future is very much here and now.

Peele’s production house developed the video using Adobe After Effects and FakeApp, the face-swapping tool of choice for creating fake porn. FakeApp is powered by AI smarts and is so powerful that it can render in real-time. When you factor in other technologies in development that include the ability to fake someone’s voice by using AI to learn from a short audio clip of the real person (Lyrebird) and the ability edit audio dialogue as you would a photo (Adobe Project VoCo), it is going to become very hard to tell the real thing apart from the faked.

Ironically, it might be AI that helps come to the rescue. AI is also being applied to spot spoofs and a near future where AI is scanning news, videos and other sources of information in real-time to identify forgery seems inevitable. But only for those who have the technology. One only hopes that companies like Facebook and YouTube apply these technologies as soon as possible in their respective services, otherwise it is not too hard to imagine another The War of the Worlds -like scenario where something that has been authentically recreated to look, sound or feel like the real thing is misintepreted as such by an unsuspecting public.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 04 > This AI video of Barack Obama is the disturbing future of fake news
Sanjiv Sathiah, 2018-04-18 (Update: 2018-04-18)
Sanjiv Sathiah
Sanjiv Sathiah - News Editor
I have been tech-obsessed from the time my father introduced me to my first computer, an Apple ][. Since then, I have been particularly interested in all things Apple, but also enjoy exploring and experimenting with any computing platform that I can get my hands on – I am the definitive early adopter! I have always been interested in how we can use technology to shape and improve our lives, most recently using it to record, mix and master my debut record, Acuity – Nature | Nurture.