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An Introductory Guide to Deepfake Photos and Videos

Deepfake photos and videos
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The word ‘deepfake’ is used to refer to any digital photograph or video that has been made with little assistance from artificial intelligence. AI can help to make high-quality photographs of even non-existent people, or videos of celebrities saying or doing things they did not do. Deepfake photos and videos manipulate the audience’s perception, so they are possibly dangerous creations. Product photo editing experts say that fake creations are likely to look more real soon than in the present. This is where the invention of the University at Buffalo’s researchers, including Siwei Lyu, comes into the picture.

The Buffalo University’s Creation to Identify Deepfakes

Lyu and his fellow researchers at the Buffalo-based university have made a tool that identifies whether a photograph is doctored. For your information, the term ‘doctored’ refers to a fake or modified photograph with a particular meaning. The tool deconstructs the light reflections seen in the subject’s eyes. As per a recent study from the university, the tool’s deepfake recognition capability is 94% effective with photographs similar to portraits.

As for Lyu, human corneas are so reflective that the parts appear in photographs that have a high resolution. The reflections on the right eye and the left eye are in identical positions in an actual photograph, but those are not in deepfake pictures.

Deepfake and the Hollywood Connection

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Deepfake photograph and video examples are getting increasingly convincing, especially to the layperson. People use these doctored creations, especially in video form, for pranks. An example is a video where the Barry series star Bill Haider’s face just morphs into Hollywood actor Tom Cruise’s face in a Saturday Night Liveepisode. If you have no idea about how even professional picture editing works, then you might feel that Haider just transformed into Cruise.

So, deepfake creations are getting into the mainstream media space, through news broadcasts, TV shows, and films. Streaming platforms such as YouTube have deepfake videos that look more real than the CGI portions in the fictional scenes that inspired the works. That has caused concerns about how technology could be misused to make realistic doctored photographs and videos for negative goals.

Evolved Times, Same Purposes

Even in history, the purpose of using doctored photographs was negative, especially in the world of politics. There are countless examples of doctored images of famous Nazis and other political figures used to increase support for certain ideologies. Despite all the evolution of technology over the years, a few human intentions remain the same.