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The new face of Fake News

February 2, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) is making fake news more realistic. Computer scientists already can produce random faces, and now, they manipulate existing faces in videos using AI face generation or face swap. Social media is a popular platform for fake news to spread. With news outlets posting videos to sites now, the fake videos will be difficult to distinguish.

Kyle Haptonstall ‘16 is familiar with AI face swapping technology in his career as an iOS Engineer at an app developer in Chicago, Illinois. “The automation of the technique using machine learning and ‘AI’ further blurs the line that helps us determine what is real and what is fake,” said Haptonstall. “With the recent uses of AI-driven face swapping that have been making headlines being degrading in their uses, I think it does help bring a shocking awareness to the amount of data we make public across various social media platforms.”

Fake videos of President Trump, Vladimir Putin, and Barrack Obama are some examples that can be found on YouTube. Computer scientists record their facial movements on a webcam, and then use whoever’s face. People targeted are often on video regularly, so creators can study their facial movements and expressions. They are able to pick up on normal expressions and mannerisms of that person. The end result is a realistic looking video.

Artificial voice capability is on the way. Currently, the audio needs to be preexisting or an impersonation. With artificial voice, the creator could make any message and modify the voice to fit the face swap. The combination of the face swap and artificial voice has a larger scope than before. Preexisting audio and impersonations have limitations while the artificial voice does not.

AI technology is becoming more available to the public. Nvidia is a technology company and has been a front leader in the face generation and face swap technology. Nvidia offers online education courses about AI. There are also in-person workshops around the world for further education on the topic. The algorithms and instructions are available to people who are willing to pay for it, so there will be a larger group that is able to make these videos.

In the most recent presidential election, fake news was in the spotlight. AI face swap brings in a new technological advancement. False content circulates quickly now, and with more realistic looking videos, sharing fake news could escalate. Fake video is becoming easier to create and harder to recognize. “Though the work continues in the field of AI that will greatly improve society, it seems that negative use of the technology become ever more present,” said Haptonstall.

Maddy Neal
Contributing Writer

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