but how do deepfakes work?

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A user of the TikTok video sharing platform has obviously specialized in making deepfakes featuring the famous Hollywood actor Tom Cruise. Breathtaking, these images totaling millions of views give the impression of seeing the star in action. This is an opportunity to redefine and explain this very recent phenomenon.

A fake Tom Cruise on TikTok

The deepfake (or hypertrucage) is a image synthesis technique based on artificial intelligence (AI). The goal ? Overlay existing audio and video files to create new content. However, the fact is that it is very often a question of superimposing a face on another person. On TikTok, the account Deeptomcruise totals over 30 million views with only five videos. These feature the famous American actor Tom Cruise (Impossible mission, Minority report, Oversight), recently acclaimed for its film project shot in space with the support of NASA.

By watching these videos, anyone could tell themselves that Tom Cruise is performing like never before. In reality, it is about another person performing deepfakes. In the one visible at the end of the article, our fake actor realizes a simple illusion using a play and says a few words. The man playing Tom Cruise emphasizes laughter, facial expressions and other facial expressions to emphasize the stunning character of the images (and voice).

Credits: screenshot TikTok / deeptomcruise

A technique that leaves no one indifferent

In 2016, deepfake techniques are explained for the first time. It was about work on the simulation of facial movements in order to transpose them to a target person. Thus, many people find that it is possible to counterfeit practically in real time facial expressions in 2D videos. A few months after this demonstration, audio hypertrucage makes its appearance. Over the years, the technique improved and many more or less controversial cases made the headlines. In just five years, publications of deepfakes have multiplied abundantly.

The images relate in particular to celebrities like Scarlett Johansson, Katy Perry or Taylor Swift in the context of faked sextapes. The technique also appears in politics in 2017, notably featuring a fake Barack Obama during a speech. broadcast by British channel BBC. The following year, the FakeApp application was launched, making it easy to make deepfake videos. This application uses artificial neural networks and deep learning algorithms.

Deepfakes can be associated with fake news, a topic mentioned by the European Parliament in January 2021 in a new report. One of the objectives is to accelerate research in order to counter this phenomenon potentially capable of influencing elections, or even destabilize countries. However, maybe not everything is negative about hyperfactoring. In 2019, MIT discussed the possibility of using this technique to create images that allow artificial intelligences to better detect different types of cancer. This would be promising research that could lead to the development of a way to help physicians better make their diagnoses.


I love magic!

♬ original sound – Tom

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