Chris Ume’s creation of the fake Tom Cruise was largely out of self-entertainment.

A special effects artist wanted to try something different during the stagnation of 2020. So he teamed up with Tom his Cruise lookalike to invent a series of comedy deepfake videos of him using AI and facial mapping technology to unleash them in early 2021. on tiktok. DeepTomCruise’s account quickly became popular, then fell out of the public eye and was superseded by the next viral conversion.

Ume is now back with a mission to commercialize video deepfakes for the planned metaverse, making them as central to our digital lives as tweets and memes.

He’ll take that next step on Tuesday, with Metaphysic, the company he founded with entrepreneur Tom Graham, making it to the semifinals of NBC’s reality hit show “America’s Got Talent.”

“This is a good opportunity to raise awareness and show what we can do,” Ume said.

“I think the web would be a lot better if we lived in hyperreal worlds instead of avatars,” Graham added, explaining users’ ability to manipulate real faces with Metaphysic.

The appearance of millions on television lays the groundwork for new websites to enable ordinary people to say and do things they would never do in real life. Many other such sites are aimed at programmers and researchers.

And the act was— They follow up with a raucous preliminary round appearance in which the judges pretend to be singing alone, with a young Simon Cowell’s face superimposed on the screen above the stage performers. speed.

But some critics are horrified by this celebratory moment in the highest-rated TV show. Hardly clear. If disinformation peddlers can be so successful with words and manipulated images, imagine what they can do with full video.

Hany Farid, a University of California professor and deepfake expert, said: “What’s going wrong?”

The announcement of what was the most-watched show on network TV for most weeks this summer marks the end of a frenetic summer in the world of deepfakes, which use artificial intelligence deep learning to create fake media. (supporters prefer “synthesis” or “AI generation”).

While many Americans enjoyed old-fashioned analog activities such as going to the beach, a startup called Midjourney is creating stunningly realistic images with just a few keystrokes for anyone with a basic graphics card. We have provided “AI Art Generation” that allows you to create To spend even a few minutes on it – Gordon Ramsay is on fire in his Hell’s Kitchen. This is Gandalf playing the guitar—experiencing the art of making Photoshop look like he’s Wite-Out. Midjourney has amassed over 1 million users on his Discord channel.

Three weeks ago, a startup called Stable AI released a program called Stable Diffusion. AI image generators are open-source programs that, unlike some of their competitors, place few restrictions on the images people can create, which some critics say can be used for fraud, political disinformation, and invasion of privacy. There is

“We should worry. I follow technology every day, I I’m worried,” said Subbarao Kambhampati, a professor at Arizona State University’s Department of Computing and AI who studies deepfakes and virtual identities. He said the “AGT” moment expects more platforms like these to take off, even as technology improves by the day.

“It’s moving very fast. [to] We will create a moon landing that looks like the real thing,” he said.

Ume and Graham say their goal is not to deceive. Ume emphasizes the value of entertainment. The company will pitch to Hollywood studios that want to put deceased actors in films (with the estate’s permission) or to have performers play against their younger selves.

For regular users, Ume says Metaphysic’s goal is to make online interactions feel more real. “Imaging being able to have breakfast with my grandparents in Belgium from here in Bangkok makes me feel like I am really there,” said Ume from his current base.

Graham adds that rather than undermining privacy, synthetic media enhances it. Graham, a Harvard-educated lawyer who founded a digital graphics company before turning to cryptocurrencies and eventually deepfakes, said: “He doesn’t think that’s going to happen in the Web2 world today.”

Farid is not convinced. “They only tell half the story: you’re using your own image,” he said. “The other side is someone using it to scam, spread disinformation, and disrupt society.

Deepfake technology started eight years ago with a “Generative Adversarial Network”. Created by computer scientist Ian Goodfellow, the system basically pits two AIs against each other to compete for the most realistic image. The results were far superior to basic machine learning techniques. Goodfellow has since worked at Google, Apple, and now his Google subsidiary, DeepMind.

Early deepfakes were used by skilled exploiters who grafted the faces of notorious actresses into porn videos. But with the technology requiring fewer tools, everyday people can use it for a variety of purposes, and Metaphysic wants to take it further.

Earlier this year, the company raised $7.5 million in investments from the Winklevoss twins, social media-turned-crypto-entrepreneurs, and Section 32 (the VC fund of Google Ventures founder Bill Mullis). Section 32 Managing His Partner Andy Harrison said of Metaphysics: He also said that Google veteran Harrison sees video deepfakes not as a threat, but as an empowering shift in consumption and communication.

“Frankly, I’m pretty excited,” he said. “Entertainment and Social He thinks it’s a new era of interaction.”

But critics worry about the “liar dividend.” Video deepfakes are inundated, making even legitimate videos cloudy and no one believes anything.

“Video is the final frontier of online verification. And now that may be gone, too,” Farid said. He said it was unlikely in a world flooded with video.

A spokeswoman for production company Fremantle declined to comment on the story when asked about AGT’s role in promoting deepfakes. However, a person close to Shaw, who requested anonymity because he is legally prohibited from commenting on the ongoing competition, said he believes metaphysical acts have social utility. By using the innovation in a completely transparent manner, we are showing mainstream audiences how this technology works.”

One solution to the real problem can come in the form of authentication. A cross-industry effort involving Adobe, Microsoft, and Intel will verify and make the creators of all videos transparent to ensure people are genuine. However, it is not clear how many will adopt it.

ASU researcher Kanbanpathi says he fears the world will end in one of two places.

“I hope it’s the second,” he said, adding, “I don’t think it’s that great either.”


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