With the “deepfake”, the face of entertainment in full revolution

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(AFP) – Have you always dreamed of putting yourself in the shoes of James Bond or Beyoncé? Thanks to the “deepfake”, applications allow you to embody your idol with a simple selfie. Artificial intelligence technology set to disrupt the media and entertainment industry.

Viewers, even the most passionate, saw nothing but fire. To compensate for the absence of one of its actresses, contact case Covid – 17, the French series “Plus belle la vie” resorted end 2020 to “deepfake”, a hyper realistic digital trick consisting in replacing one face by another.

Face Swap, FaceApp, Reface … With this sophisticated photomontage technique based on artificial intelligence technologies, several applications aim to revolutionize the creation of content, both on social networks and in audiovisual production .

From a simple selfie, Reface analyzes the user’s facial features to embed them on the character of their choice in animated scenes (“GIF” ) funny and quirky. With puzzling precision.

Enough to allow any fan to don Harry Potter clothes and then take possession of Dwayne Johnson’s muscular body in just a few seconds, and cause a hell of a buzz on the web.

Launched in January 2019, the Reface application has already been downloaded over 180 million times.

“It took 31 months at TikTok and 19 months at Snapchat to cross the bar 100 millions of downloads “, points out to AFP Ivan Altsybieiev, co-founder of Reface, on the sidelines of the Web Summit, the great Annual digital mass organized in Lisbon.

– Trucage better than the original –

Aware of his almost infinite creative potential, the Ukrainian entrepreneur believes that ” deepfake “opens the way to a future” where all content could be p Personalized “, especially in cinema or TV series.

” Imagine that a new episode arrives and your friend or you even appear there “, he adds, taking the example of the episode “Bandersnatch” of the Black Mirror series where the viewer can participate “in an interactive consumption of the content.”

Sign of an already growing appetite for Hollywood production studios, a YouTuber expert in “deepfake” named Shamook was hired last July by Lucasfilm after wowing audiences by modifying a scene from the second season of “The Mandalorian”.

The television series derived from the “Star Wars” universe, which takes place five years after the film “Return of the Jedi” released in 1983, concludes with the surprise appearance of Mark Hamill, rejuvenated to play again a young Luke Skywalker.

But the amateur version of this scene produced by Shamook was judged by many Internet users even better than e the original aired on Disney +.

“In recent years (Lucasfilm) has invested in machine learning and artificial intelligence as a means of producing special effects convincing, and it’s incredible to see the dynamics build as technology advances, “the company said to justify such recruitment.

– Fake news –

Despite these new possibilities, the “deepfake” is still associated with the dissemination of false information on the Internet because it can be used to manipulate Internet users or to defame, by making people say or do things that they do not. have not said or done.

A video claiming to show New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern smoking crack, cocaine in the form of crystals, for example, has gone viral. ‘last summer. The leader’s face had actually been superimposed on that of a YouTuber on original images shot … in 2019.

To stem the phenomenon, the main web giants are preparing a response.

Facebook scientists thus presented last June a method which should allow, using artificial intelligence (AI), to track down deepfakes as well as to determine their origin.

Microsoft introduced software last year that can help identify photo or video “deepfakes”, while Google had made public 1983 thousands of “deepfakes” carried out by its teams to make them available to researchers who want to develop methods of detecting manipulated images.

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