Google to police web for fake videos
In an era replete with fake news stories, you might expect video evidence to provide a clearer picture of the truth.
You'd be wrong, according to Google engineer Supasorn Suwajanakorn - who has developed a tool which, fed with the right input, can create a realistic fake video that mimics the way a person talks by closely observing existing footage of their mouth and teeth to create the perfect lip-sync.
Like any technology, it has great potential for both good and mischief. Suwajanakorn is therefore also working with the AI Foundation on a 'Reality Defender' app that would run automatically in web browsers to spot and flag fake pictures or videos. "I let a computer watch 14 hours of pure Obama video, and synthesised him talking," Suwajanakorn said while sharing his shockingly convincing work at the TED Conference in Vancouver on Wednesday.
He noted a New Dimensions in Testimony project that lets people have conversations with holograms of Holocaust survivors. "These results seemed intriguing, but at the same time troubling; it concerns me, the potential for misuse," he said.
"So, I am also working on counter-measure technology to detect fake images and video."
He worried, for example, that war could be triggered by bogus video of a world leader announcing a nuclear strike. Step forward 'Reality Defender', which will automatically scan for manipulated pictures or video, as well as allow users to report apparent fakes to use the power of the crowd to bolster the defence. "Video manipulation will be used in malicious ways unless counter-measures are in place," he said.