Using an increasingly sophisticated method for making fake videos, or “deepfakes,” video editors can realistically face-swap someone into a video. (As our sister site Gizmodo reports, the technology has been especially popular for making fake celebrity porn.) Deepfakes will soon make it hard to tell when a video of a famous figure is real. To demonstrate, BuzzFeed and director Jordan Peele created a “deepfake” of Barack Obama saying things like “President Trump is a total and complete dipshit.” While this isn’t the most convincing deepfake video, it’s enough to fool some people, especially someone watching a low-res copy on a smartphone in a hurry. The technology will inevitably improve, but this video is a good tool for studying the current telltale signs of a deepfake. Here are three things to ask yourself: Is their mouth moving too little? It’s easy to slap someone’s face onto another person’s head; it’s much harder to imitate the intricacies of speech. Fake Obama has trouble with his “P” sounds, especially on “complete dipshit.” Does their voice sound off? While audio software is also making easier to imitate someone’s voice, right now it often leaves signs of editing: the pitch might be off, or the intonation might sound a bit like Siri. In BuzzFeed’s video, Peele provides the audio with a convincing, but slightly imperfect, vocal impression. Do they move herky-jerky?
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