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posted by takyon on Tuesday May 29 2018, @10:29PM   Printer-friendly
from the crisp-fakes dept.

There has been some controversy over Deepfakes, a process of substituting faces in video. Almost immediately, it was used for pornography. While celebrities were generally unamused, porn stars were alarmed by the further commodification of their rôle. The algorithm is widely available and several web sites removed objectionable examples. You know something is controversial when porn sites remove it. Reddit was central for Deepfakes/FakeApp tech support and took drastic action to remove discussion after it started to become synonymous with fictitious revenge porn and other variants of anti-social practices.

I found a good description of the deepfakes algorithm. It runs via a standard neural network library but requires considerable processing power on specific GPUs. I will describe the video input (with face to be removed) as the source and the face to be replaced as the target. The neural network is trained with the target face only. The source is distorted and the neural network is trained to approximate reference images of the target. When the neural network is given the source, it has been trained to "undistort" the source to target.


If there are multiple faces in a frame of video, face recognition restricts input to the most likely face. Indeed, for maximum efficiency, this technique is used to crop source video in all cases. The trick that makes the process feasible is that the neural network is only trained with the target face. Furthermore, given the use of libraries, the unique code to achieve this objective is shockingly small.

A friend attempted to mix DeepFakes with the Internet meme of Downfall parodies. There is an infamous scene in the film Downfall (not to be confused with the film Falling Down) where Adolf Hitler rants prior to defeat. Unfaithful subtitles of the German dialog have been used to parody everything from corporate sales targets to sportsball management to the ongoing medical abuse of transsexual patients. Until now, only the words in the subtitles changed. The audio and video was otherwise unchanged. My friend hoped that it would be possible to insert the likeness of people being parodied.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work with the current algorithm. The number of faces is not a problem. The clipping and occlusion prevents the neural network from working effectively. It should be possible with an extension of the current algorithm but it is currently impractical.

A further development, found by the same friend, is the automatic conversion of a one sentence description into a very short video. The example system uses Flintstones cartoons. An example sentence would be "Fred dancing in the kitchen" and a rough but valid video is created which matches the description. Potentially, it would be possible to automatically convert a novel into a 100 minute film with no human intervention. Given that novels are frequently converted into films, there is a large amount of example data which may be used as reference. I know this would only be moderately easier than making a holodeck but experts may not be aware of the progress towards either goal.

takyon: An algorithm can also be used to manipulate facial movements to match video or audio input (see this example of Jordan Peele controlling Barack Obama's face). DARPA is holding an event that will task experts with making and catching "deepfakes".

Researchers have also created short "movies" (64x64, 32-frame animated GIFs) from text descriptions. It may be possible to synthesize scenes for a full length movie in the future without needing strong AI. After all, procedural generation could be used to create and populate a virtual city (like the one in Big Hero 6), and then it's a matter of writing some kind of coherent narrative and "shooting" it. A "director neural network" could be trained to mimic the cinematography techniques of films created by humans, and then apply the results to the virtual environment.

Original Submission

Related Stories

AI-Generated Fake Celebrity Porn Craze "Blowing Up" on Reddit 48 comments

Fake celebrity porn is blowing up on Reddit, thanks to artificial intelligence.

Back in December, the unsavory hobby of a Reddit user by the name of deepfakes became a new centerpiece of artificial intelligence debate, specifically around the newfound ability to face-swap celebrities and porn stars. Using software, deepfakes was able to take the face of famous actresses and swap them with those of porn actresses, letting him live out a fantasy of watching famous people have sex. Now, just two months later, easy-to-use applications have sprouted up with the ability to perform this real-time editing with even more ease, according to Motherboard, which also first reported about deepfakes late last year.

Thanks to AI training techniques like machine learning, scores of photographs can be fed into an algorithm that creates convincing human masks to replace the faces of anyone on video, all by using lookalike data and letting the software train itself to improve over time. In this case, users are putting famous actresses into existing adult films. According to deepfakes, this required some extensive computer science know-how. But Motherboard reports that one user in the burgeoning community of pornographic celebrity face swapping has created a user-friendly app that basically anyone can use.

The same technique can be used for non-pornographic purposes, such as inserting Nicolas Cage's face into classic movies. One user also "outperformed" the Princess Leia scene at the end of Disney's Rogue One (you be the judge, original footage is at the top of the GIF).

The machines are learning.

Original Submission

Discord Takes Down "Deepfakes" Channel, Citing Policy Against "Revenge Porn" 27 comments

The messaging platform Discord has taken down a channel that was being used to share and spread AI-edited pornographic videos:

Last year, a Reddit user known as "deepfakes" used machine learning to digitally edit the faces of celebrities into pornographic videos, and a new app has made the process much easier to create and spread the videos online. on Friday, chat service Discord shut down a user-created group that was spreading the videos, citing their policy against revenge porn.

Discord is a free chat platform that caters to gamers, and has a poor track record when it comes to dealing with abuse and toxic communities. After it was contacted by Business Insider, the company took down the chat group, named "deepfakes."

Discord is a Skype/TeamSpeak/Slack alternative. Here are some /r/deepfakes discussions about the Discord problem.

One take is that there is no recourse for "victims" of AI-generated porn, at least in the U.S.:

People Can Put Your Face on Porn—and the Law Can't Help You

To many vulnerable people on the internet, especially women, this looks a whole lot like the end times. "I share your sense of doom," Mary Anne Franks, who teaches First Amendment and technology law at the University of Miami Law School, and also serves as the tech and legislative policy advisor for the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative. "I think it is going to be that bad."

Merkel Trump Deepfake

Previously: AI-Generated Fake Celebrity Porn Craze "Blowing Up" on Reddit

Original Submission

Pornhub and Reddit Purge AI-Generated "Involuntary Pornography" (Updated) 50 comments

The AI porn purge continues:

Pornhub will be deleting "deepfakes" — AI-generated videos that realistically edit new faces onto pornographic actors — under its rules against nonconsensual porn, following in the footsteps of platforms like Discord and Gfycat. "We do not tolerate any nonconsensual content on the site and we remove all said content as soon as we are made aware of it," the company told Motherboard, which first reported on the deepfakes porn phenomenon last year. Pornhub says that nonconsensual content includes "revenge porn, deepfakes, or anything published without a person's consent or permission."

Update: The infamous subreddit itself, /r/deepfakes, has been banned by Reddit. /r/CelebFakes and /r/CelebrityFakes have also been banned for their non-AI porn fakery (they had existed for over 7 years). Other subreddits like /r/fakeapp (technical support for the software) and /r/SFWdeepfakes remain intact. Reported at Motherboard, The Verge, and TechCrunch.

Motherboard also reported on some users (primarily on a new subreddit, /r/deepfakeservice) offering to accept commissions to create deepfakes porn. This is seen as more likely to result in a lawsuit:

Algorithm Creates "Movies" From Text Descriptions 15 comments

A machine learning algorithm has created tiny (64×64 pixels) 32-frame videos based on text descriptions:

The researchers trained the algorithm on 10 types of scenes, including "playing golf on grass," and "kitesurfing on the sea," which it then roughly reproduced. Picture grainy VHS footage. Nevertheless, a simple classification algorithm correctly guessed the intended action among six choices about half the time. (Sailing and kitesurfing were often mistaken for each other.) What's more, the network could also generate videos for nonsensical actions, such as "sailing on snow," and "playing golf at swimming pool," the team reported this month at a meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence in New Orleans, Louisiana.

[...] Currently, the videos are only 32 frames long—lasting about 1 second—and the size of a U.S. postage stamp, 64 by 64 pixels. Anything larger reduces accuracy, says Yitong Li, a computer scientist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and the paper's first author. Because people often appear as distorted figures, a next step, he says, is using human skeletal models to improve movement.

Tuytelaars also sees applications beyond Hollywood. Video generation could lead to better compression if a movie can be stored as nothing but a brief description. It could also generate training data for other machine learning algorithms. For example, realistic video clips might help autonomous cars prepare for dangerous situations they would not frequently encounter. And programs that deeply understand the visual world could spin off useful applications in everything from refereeing to surveillance. They could help a self-driving car predict where a motorbike will go, for example, or train a household robot to open a fridge, Pirsiavash says.

An AI-generated Hollywood blockbuster may still be beyond the horizon, but in the meantime, we finally know what "kitesurfing on grass" looks like.

Original Submission

Deep Fakes Advance to Only Needing a Single Two Dimensional Photograph 4 comments

Currently to get a realistic Deep Fake, shots from multiple angles are needed. Russian researchers have now taken this a step further, generating realistic video sequences based off a single photo.

Researchers trained the algorithm to understand facial features' general shapes and how they behave relative to each other, and then to apply that information to still images. The result was a realistic video sequence of new facial expressions from a single frame.

As a demonstration, they provide details and synthesized video sequences of historical figures such as Albert Einstein and Salvador Dali, as well as sequences based on paintings such as the Mona Lisa.

The authors are aware of the potential downsides of their technology and address this:

We realize that our technology can have a negative use for the so-called "deepfake" videos. However, it is important to realize, that Hollywood has been making fake videos (aka "special effects") for a century, and deep networks with similar capabilities have been available for the past several years (see links in the paper). Our work (and quite a few parallel works) will lead to the democratization of the certain special effects technologies. And the democratization of the technologies has always had negative effects. Democratizing sound editing tools lead to the rise of pranksters and fake audios, democratizing video recording lead to the appearance of footage taken without consent. In each of the past cases, the net effect of democratization on the World has been positive, and mechanisms for stemming the negative effects have been developed. We believe that the case of neural avatar technology will be no different. Our belief is supported by the ongoing development of tools for fake video detection and face spoof detection alongside with the ongoing shift for privacy and data security in major IT companies.

While it works with as few as one frame to learn from, the technology benefits in accuracy and 'identity preservation' from having multiple frames available. This becomes obvious when observing the synthesized Mona Lisa sequences, which, while accurate to the original, appear to be essentially three different individuals to the human eye watching them.

Journal Reference:

Related Coverage
Most Deepfake Videos Have One Glaring Flaw: A Lack of Blinking
My Struggle With Deepfakes
Discord Takes Down "Deepfakes" Channel, Citing Policy Against "Revenge Porn"
AI-Generated Fake Celebrity Porn Craze "Blowing Up" on Reddit
As Fake Videos Become More Realistic, Seeing Shouldn't Always be Believing

Original Submission

GitHub Censors "Sexually Obscene" DeepNude Code 102 comments

Github is banning copies of 'deepfakes' porn app DeepNude

GitHub is banning code from DeepNude, the app that used AI to create fake nude pictures of women. Motherboard, which first reported on DeepNude last month, confirmed that the Microsoft-owned software development platform won't allow DeepNude projects. GitHub told Motherboard that the code violated its rules against "sexually obscene content," and it's removed multiple repositories, including one that was officially run by DeepNude's creator.

DeepNude was originally a paid app that created nonconsensual nude pictures of women using technology similar to AI "deepfakes." The development team shut it down after Motherboard's report, saying that "the probability that people will misuse it is too high." However, as we noted last week, copies of the app were still accessible online — including on GitHub.

Late that week, the DeepNude team followed suit by uploading the core algorithm (but not the actual app interface) to the platform. "The reverse engineering of the app was already on GitHub. It no longer makes sense to hide the source code," wrote the team on a now-deleted page. "DeepNude uses an interesting method to solve a typical AI problem, so it could be useful for researchers and developers working in other fields such as fashion, cinema, and visual effects."

Also at The Register, Vice, and Fossbytes.

Previously: "Deep Nude" App Removed By Developers After Brouhaha

Related: AI-Generated Fake Celebrity Porn Craze "Blowing Up" on Reddit
Discord Takes Down "Deepfakes" Channel, Citing Policy Against "Revenge Porn"
My Struggle With Deepfakes
Deep Fakes Advance to Only Needing a Single Two Dimensional Photograph

Original Submission

Community Reviews: Films to Watch During a Pandemic 57 comments

Here's a quick overview of "documentaries" to watch before, during and after a pandemic:

The Andromeda Strain film: An early Michael Crichton adaptation which came before the Westworld film and series and the Jurassic Park film series. Like many Michael Crichton stories, factual science is extended with credible speculation. In this case, a prion-like infection has killed almost everyone in a village and the survivors are seemingly unrelated. The film is best known for its cartoonish but very photogenic indoor set which serves as the backdrop of a Level 4 Biolab. Such eloborate sets were common in the era. (Other examples include Rollerball and disaster parody/Airplane predecessor, The Big Bus.) The film features concurrent action which was a common experimental film technique in the 1960s but, nowadays, is most commonly associated with Kiefer Sutherland in the 24 series. There is also a lesser-known mini-series.

Outbreak: A rather dull film which nevertheless provides a graphic portrayal of uncontained pandemic and towns being quarantined. It would be marginally improved if the antagonists were re-cast. Possible source material for DeepFaking.

The Resident Evil film series: These films considerably advanced the tropes of amoral corporation, rogue artificial intelligence as antagonist, reality within reality, experimentation without informed consent and the horror of a medicalized vampire/zombie rabies virus. The Red Queen versus White Queen subplot dovetails with Alice in Wonderland, prey versus predator evolution and Umbrella Corp's red and white logo which - in a case of life mirroring art - was copied by Wuhan's Level 4 Biolab. Many people prefer the competent and detailed Resident Evil series of computer games which are arguably better than the Half Life series or the SCP game.

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  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29 2018, @10:52PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29 2018, @10:52PM (#685976)

    porn stars were alarmed by the further commodification of their rôle.

    As a cirumflexual challenge, I suggest r♂le or in the videos I've (ahem) seen r♀le.

  • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Wednesday May 30 2018, @12:42AM (9 children)

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <> on Wednesday May 30 2018, @12:42AM (#686020) Homepage Journal

    The first engineer to actually accomplish this will put even Jeff Bezos completely to shame:

    Hollywood actors can be... difficult... to work with.

    Yes I Have No Bananas. []
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by MostCynical on Wednesday May 30 2018, @01:00AM

      by MostCynical (2589) on Wednesday May 30 2018, @01:00AM (#686024) Journal
      "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by takyon on Wednesday May 30 2018, @04:52AM (7 children)

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Wednesday May 30 2018, @04:52AM (#686097) Journal

      We're within striking distance, but the animation is still in the uncanny valley territory, and it will be delayed for years due to resistance in the industry and legal battles over personality rights. One solution would be to create a completely fresh digital actor or base it on a low-paid unknown actor who will sign away their rights. But you can already just hire unknowns if you want to be cheap, and some films will even cast unknowns in the lead roles.

      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30 2018, @05:32AM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30 2018, @05:32AM (#686102)

        I don't even see the appeal. Real people are hideous, including the ones who are commonly said to be beautiful. Fap to anime characters instead. No need for "Deepfakes".

        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday May 30 2018, @05:42AM (1 child)

          by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Wednesday May 30 2018, @05:42AM (#686106) Journal

          *Slow clap*

          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
          • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30 2018, @10:21AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30 2018, @10:21AM (#686202)

            Slow Clap?, Cue the sound of one hand clapping..

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30 2018, @06:13AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30 2018, @06:13AM (#686125)

          A local skinflick house used to have an "Anime" festival late Sunday nights.

          The one time I attended I did indeed fap to a fappable anime.

          It was only after I jizzed all over the floor that I realized no one else was committing onanism. While I still hope this wasn't the case, I think most of the audience consisted of honest-to-goodness anime fans.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30 2018, @09:31AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30 2018, @09:31AM (#686190)

        takyon without citiations, sigh. []

        Aki Ross was designed to be as realistic as possible; Square Pictures intended for the CGI character to be the world's first artificial actress to appear in multiple films in multiple roles.

        And of course []

        • (Score: 3, Touché) by takyon on Wednesday May 30 2018, @10:23AM

          by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Wednesday May 30 2018, @10:23AM (#686204) Journal

          Sigh. Those are some "fine" "citations" you have there.

          Peter Bradshaw gave a more negative review, stating that while the animation was brilliant, the "solemnly realist human faces look shriekingly phoney precisely because they're almost there but not quite"

          I think we can agree that Hatsune Miku isn't designed to be ultra realistic, avoiding the uncanny valley by going anime-style kawaiiiiii instead. Even the voice sounds unnatural, although that is also part of the appeal (refer to all of the auto-tuned music made in the last couple of decades).

          A more timely example would be the virtual Peter Cushing and de-aged Carrie Fisher in Rogue One [], a 2016 film:

          While much of the computer-generated imagery (CGI) received plaudits, some news organizations published criticism about certain aspects, including the visual effects (VFX) that were used to revive Peter Cushing, who had died in 1994, as Grand Moff Tarkin. The Guardian's Catherine Shoard described the "resurrection" as a "digital indignity". Joseph Walsh of The Guardian raised legal and ethical issues about bringing a long-dead actor to life. However, Lucasfilm had obtained permission from Peter Cushing's estate before deciding to use his likeness. The Washington Times's Eric Althoff rejected the entire concept of using CGI to recreate a deceased actor: "Alas, what we get is, basically, not a simulation, but an approximation of a simulation—a dead character portrayed by a living actor inhabiting not the character, but imitating the dead actor."

          Some journalists also criticized the quality of the CGI that was used to represent a younger Carrie Fisher in order to portray Princess Leia at an earlier time, as well as its suitability in movie-making. Eliana Dockterman of Time wrote that "there was something particularly plastic about this version of the young Carrie Fisher—so smooth and so perfect it couldn't be real—that pulled me out of the moment." Kelly Lawler of USA Today said: "... while Tarkin is merely unnerving, the Leia cameo is so jarring as to take the audience completely out of the film at its most emotional moment. Leia's appearance was meant to help the film end on a hopeful note (quite literally, as 'hope' is her line), but instead it ends on a weird and unsettling one." Michael Cavna of The Washington Post described the facial effect as feeling "distractingly artificial and nearly alien, like a plastered death mask robbed of authentic actorly effect, well beyond the usual artifice of Botox." Nonetheless, Fisher was shown the CGI rendition of her younger self for the film by Kathleen Kennedy and "loved it."

          You can also look at the Soylent reaction to "Siren":

          Epic Games (Developer of the Unreal Engine) Shows Off "Siren" Demo []

          The uncanny valley is deep and it will take some time to crawl out of it. Entirely computer-generated photorealistic actors/actresses are not routinely used. Motion capture in animation (rather than live action or faux live action) doesn't count because the characters are cartoony and unrealistic, or still fail the uncanny valley test []. Gollum/Sméagol as portrayed by Andy Serkis also doesn't count because the character design is exaggerated, fantastical, and meant to be discomforting.

          The bottom line is that successful virtual acting means that audiences should not be able to distinguish whether or not a character is virtual. Ideally, motion capture would be optional. In fact, it should be possible to make a realistic film with no sets and cameras at all. These developments will have important implications for Hollywood as well as #deepfakenews.

          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
      • (Score: 2) by DavePolaschek on Wednesday May 30 2018, @12:35PM

        by DavePolaschek (6129) on Wednesday May 30 2018, @12:35PM (#686229) Homepage Journal

        It's M-m-m-max Headroom! []

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by DannyB on Wednesday May 30 2018, @02:11PM (2 children)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 30 2018, @02:11PM (#686270) Journal

    If you're struggling with deep fakes, then there needs to be a deepfakes anonymous.

    Maybe deepfakes anonymous coward.

    The idea is to gradually cause people to come to accept unrealistically ideal depictions of people as though that is normal appearance. People will want to be more and more like robots.

    Scissors come in consumer packaging that cannot be opened without scissors.
    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30 2018, @02:16PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30 2018, @02:16PM (#686273)

      Maybe deepfakes anonymous coward.

      The advantage of being faceless is that nobody can abuse your face.

    • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Saturday June 02 2018, @04:52PM

      by cafebabe (894) on Saturday June 02 2018, @04:52PM (#687735) Journal

      I'm disappointed that no-one made a final solution joke. I'm particularly disappointed with our regular trolls.