It’s an innovative discovery that should not go in the wrong hands of purveyors of fake news, lest they exploit its features to suit their advantage and agenda. Computer scientist Supasorn Suwajanakorn created a new kind of lip-reading technology that can make a false video of just about anyone that looks nearly the same.
The program will only need a few photos and videos to “learn from.” The program uses a neutral learning network to imitate movements in the mouth and teeth of a person based from video footage. Basically, the computer algorithm teaches itself to mimic exactly how a person talks just by watching them over and over again.
Suwajanakorn created the program for his PhD thesis project at the University of Washington and demonstrated the said tool onstage in Vancouver at the 2018 TED Conference on Wednesday.
The computer scientist also said that it does not really matter what kinds of facial expressions a person makes or which words to say. The only thing needed is that that system has enough data to pick up on a speaker’s mannerisms by studying the subject’s teeth, lip movements, and jaw shape.
Suwajanakorn already completed fake videos of such celebrities as Tom Hanks and former president Barack Obama using only images and videos that are readily accessible online.
The scientist also said that the possibilities for fake videos are endless. Suwajanakorn’s lip-reading technology was created with the help of two other professors while working in a graphics vision lab at UW. The invention was so solid and convincing that Google even hired Suwajanakorn to work on its vision and graphic systems. He is now a research resident at Google Brain.
The inventor is aware, however, that the technique has a long way to go before it will be able to “fully model individual people“ from head to toe.
He expressed concern, however, that such a technique might be used for fake news. He said he does not want it “in the wrong hands.” He added there’s a need for them to be very careful about it.
Too bad that there are signs that some similar technology may already be in the “wrong hands”, though. Certain fake sex videos emerged lately swapping out the faces of porn stars for celebrities like Taylor Swift and Gal Gadot.
Suwajanakorn insists that his invention is meant for greater purposes like for educational things including telling more historical stories in vivid ways. He showed a video of holocaust survivor telling his own story to the audience.