In 1896, cinema pioneers Auguste and Louis Lumiere debuted a short film showing a train pulling into a station. Audience members reportedly fled the Paris theater in terror, afraid they would be run down. Though the train on screen could do them no harm, of course, the experience, and the danger, nevertheless felt real. Today, filmgoers are a savvier lot, well-versed in the many feats that camera tricks and postproduction can accomplish. But a certain threat still lurks in the deceptions of the cinema – only now the dangers are often more real than the objects and actors depicted on screen.
On Dec. 11, Vice’s Motherboard ran a story discussing how advances in artificial intelligence have made it possible to digitally superimpose celebrities’ faces onto other actors’ bodies with an algorithm. The article focused on the technology’s use for making fake celebrity porn videos, but the trick has come in handy for mainstream movies as well: Think Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing in a recent “Star Wars” installment. The possibilities in the mainstream and adult film industries are practically endless with this innovation, especially combined with programs such as Adobe Voco or Lyrebird, which can create a vocal library from a recorded sample of someone’s voice. Using these tools in tandem, filmmakers of all kinds can make any person, or at least a convincing digital replica, say and do whatever they want for whatever end – be it entertainment or something more insidious.
This post was published at FinancialSense on 12/21/2017.