Tech-A-Week: DeepFake – Game of Thrones in real life

Game of Thrones – Faceless Men

For Game of thrones fans the episode when faceless men was introduced was a shocking but confusing one. Faceless men are the ones that have the ability to change their faces and capability to shape shift to appear as a different person. They follow the “many-faced God”, are trained to relinquish their former identifies, feelings, aspirations to become “no-one”. They use their ability to shape shift to efficiently carry out assassinations and carry out their tasks with ease.

In Real life, at least in the digital world, a combination of advancements in machine learning algorithms, faster processing power, huge amount of face data makes it possible to “face-shift” someone with another. This new technology is called “DeepFake”. There are plenty of examples of this new crazy technology online.

DeepFake: Layman’s definition

DeepFake is fancy name for “Face swapping” in videos. Take a famous person’s video, or a movie scene or any video for that matter then using software to replace Person A’s face with Person B’s face! .

Why is this a big deal?

Changing a person’s face in a photo is not that difficult, anybody with a decent phone or computer photo editing software can do it. Photos are stationary and doesn’t move, just replacing a face is not a big deal. However, video is a whole another ball game. you need a sophisticated and powerful software to replace a face in a video. Hollywood studios could do it with their arsenal of computer graphics machines and technical experts. check out the trailer and the backstory for “Gemini Man” movie.

So far it was not available for common people, but now a technical advancement called “DeepFake” is enabling anybody with a phone to create totally compelling video by replacing someones face. On one hand it is a great, exciting and on the other it is disturbing someone could do this with ease just with a phone.

Pretty impressive Bill Hader video in which his face changes to Tom Cruise and to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Advancements in DeepFake:

In the last few months DeepFake “how to” videos and libraries have been exploding online. Mostly they are for entertaintment value. Some are complex step-by-step instructions (check the section towards the end of this blog if you are technically inclined to try this yourself).

There are also simple, user friendly apps in phones available to “wow” your friends (and probably creep out some).

One such example is an app called Reface ( Android and iOS) from an Ukranian startup, that is taking the online world by storm.

Experts are already cautioning against the negative consequences of this technology. It will be really difficult to distinguish (at least online) between real and fake videos. What will be negative consequence of the app especially in the election year?

Interesto Meter

Investment Potential: Low

Entertainment value: Huge

Social Impact: Huge (potential to wreck havoc with a deluge of fake videos created by rival political ideologues, fake videos by disgruntled employees or ex-lovers etc)

Technically inclined!?: Continue reading…

Face or image recognition is not rocket science these days. Facebook and Google have been using image recognition in their platforms for several years now. If you ever used Google photos you’ll have experienced image recognition. Google photos can accurately identify a “Cat” without needing to supply “meta-data” to specify a photo contains contain. It recognizes by training itself using millions of cat photos and pin-pointedly identify Cat and even has the ability to distinguish between Cat and for example, Tiger.

However, recently there are advancements in the science of video editing to replace a face of pone person with another has been making big strides. below are two open source software examples that provides enough arsenals for someone to create DeepFake programs with relatives little effort.

  1. Faceswap
  2. DeepFace Lab

Here is a video that gives step by step instructions using DeepFaceLab to reface Elon Musk to use Robert Downing Jr’s face.

Last Updated on August 25, 2022 by SK