Many of us have had to heed the warning of, "Don't put words in my mouth" at some point over the course of our lives, but generally speaking, no one actually means it from in a literal sense. In time, though, thanks to deep learning and artificial intelligence, putting words in someone's mouth could become a legitimate reality.
Complementing the upcoming SIGGRAPH conference in Los Angeles, researchers from University of Washington have worked their magic to put words into former President Barack Obama's mouth. At least in this case, the words said actually did come from Obama's mouth, but the footage seen is not from the same time he said it. Think this sounds freaky? It absolutely is. Check it out:
In order to impersonate someone like this, a lot of source footage is required, as a neural net will churn through as much data as it can to better understand exactly how someone's face moves when they speak certain words. That includes how their wrinkles react, their skin stretches, and so on. All put together, and with the right tools, the result is almost scary.
One of the reasons the result above is as good as it is, is simply for the fact that there exist hundreds of hours' worth of video of Obama talking to the camera. Most people, even celebrities, are not going to have so much perfect video like this available, but as time goes on, the requirement for loads of video will only decrease, as the AI becomes more accurate.
"Fake News" is a term that's been floating around increasingly over the past few months, and this is a perfect example of what the future holds. We've all seen those clickbait articles that claim a celebrity said something they clearly didn't. Now picture this technology being put into place, and resulting in a video where the person appears to say what was claimed - even if they didn't actually say it.
This is oh so mind-boggling. This is the kind of technology that people used to joke about, but now is actually becoming a reality. We are living in some crazy times.