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DeepFake

Created December 3, 2019

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These days, it seems no classic movie is immune to getting the reboot treatment, but don't hold your breath on seeing a remake of Back to The Future. As more and more of these franchise reboots pop up on the big screen, the beloved time travel movie comes up often in online fan discussions speculating which popular titles from years past will be the next to receive a modern Hollywood makeover.

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Over the past few years, the technology needed to map a person’s voice has been steadily improving. Although far from perfect, this, when coupled with a virtual avatar that looks a lot like the real thing, is a recipe for disaster.

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If not regulated, deepfakes have the potential to not just rewrite history but drown us in a toxic politics that will thrive on our inability to distinguish the real from the unreal.

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As platforms prepare for the upcoming 2020 election season, Twitter and Facebook are divided on whether a video posted by the Mike Bloomberg presidential campaign would violate their policies on manipulated media.

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In this deepfake video of the Amazon CEO and the Tesla CEO, the two are seen playing roles in the pilot episode of the original Star Trek, “The Cage”, The Verge reported.

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We all recognize them: Lincoln standing for a portrait, Lenin addressing Russian soldiers, a woman crouched beside a student's body on the ground at Kent State University in 1970. But did you know those canonized points-in-time were altered?

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How Deepfake Technology Actually Works

As coverage of deepfake technology becomes more prevalent, it's reasonable to wonder how these videos even work. Advancements in motion capturing and facial recognition over the past decade have been staggering – and terrifying. What used to be limited to only the most well-funded computer scientists and movie studios is now a tool in the hands of comedy outlets and state-run media.

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In the latest creepy deepfake, former US President Nixon is shown to announce that the first moon landing failed.

Nixon was known to be a divisive figure but certainly recognisable. The video shows Nixon in the Oval Office, surrounded by flags, giving a presidential address to an eagerly awaiting world.

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When director David France and executive producers Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Justin Mikita set out to document the horrific true tale of persecution taking place among LGBTQ-identifying people in Chechnya, the three filmmakers were put in a tough position. Their documentary, “Welcome to Chechnya,” needed to protect those involved and it needed to be completed quickly because of situation’s urgency.

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