WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
In a couple of years time you won’t be able to tell what’s fake from what’s real.
We all love DeepFakes – unless that is you’re a celebrity, a news corporation, or a fan of democracy. But all that asides if you look past the trail of devastation they’re already leaving in their wake it seems inevitable that the destroyer of reputations and tarnisher of news will replace meme’s as the internets favourite past time. And here’s an example – after all, why bother with overlaying a text meme on Donald Trump’s face when you can make him sing Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” – something that was recently uploaded to YouTube, instead?
And, of course, all of this is just a small slice of the technology’s future potential that will one day see it creating high def movies, good ones, not ones like this one which was awful, even better fake news, like this piece from President Obama, music, and much more besides.
Great start, but give it up now Deepfake Trump
Thankfully though, and back to Trump’s rapping, the unholy song is the work of a neural network – an Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm trained on Trump’s voice and patterns of speech and tasked with churning out this cursed musical tribute.
The algorithm isn’t perfect though, yet, because the video description says the algorithm didn’t have enough training data to replicate all of the lyrics.
As a result, some words are missing, and others are mispronounced – Trumpinem sings that “his palms are sweety” instead of “sweaty,” for instance. Also, the nature of making Trump’s voice keep to Eminem’s cadence means words get stretched or compressed, the audio equivalent of Trump rapping from the bottom of a well.
The cursed track comes courtesy of research published last year by Google’s AI labs, in which the researchers figured out how to train AI to generate speech using a revolutionary audio technology called WaveNet that sounds like an actual person’s voice.
Playful audio tracks aside, the AI technology could be, sorry, will be, inevitably misused to make it seem as though people have said things they never did – and despite the funny shenanigans and the new meme’s we’re all going to have forced into our newsfeeds it also sets a very worrying precedent that, as usual, the world isn’t ready for. Ouch on all fronts.