Zoombombed by Elon? New program brings deepfakes to video conferencing


Elon Musk made a surprise appearance in this Zoom call.

A new program has launched to make your Zoom meetings a little more interesting, reportedly offering ‘deep fake’ filters for impersonating your favourite celebs.

Avatarify superimposes your chosen target’s face onto your own, and uses an algorithm to follow your facial movements, moving the mask’s eyes and mouth in sync, and in real-time.

The program can currently run on Zoom and Skype, adding a whole new element to the humble video conferencing prank.

Programmer Ali Aliev told Vice‘s Motherboard he developed the product using open-source code, from the First Order Motion Model for Image Animation, the tracking algorithm first created by researchers at the University of Trento in Italy.

Aliev developed a prototype in a matter of hours, he said, and tested it out by posing as Elon Musk in his weekly call with colleagues.

“[I] was surprised by the result,” he said.

“I decided to make fun of my colleagues … As they are all engineers and researchers, the first reaction was curiosity and we soon began testing the prototype.”

The program currently remains relatively unsophisticated — Aliev wasn’t able to replicate Musk’s dulcet tones to keep the charade going. And, frankly, you don’t have to look (or listen) too closely to identify this Elon as an imposter.

However, Motherboard pointed out that businesses like Dessa are doing a better job of creating convincing voices, having released a series of computer-generated Joe Rogan monologues (as if we need more of them).

Considering what one developer was able to do in hours, given a little more time, and paired with a more convincing vocal, could this be the beginning of a sinister new world of deepfake Zoombombing?

NOW READ: Amazon keeps customers waiting, Llamas are the new Zoom-bombers, Lonely Planet on the rocks?

NOW READ: ‘Not a deepfake company’: Voice cloning startup Replica Studios raises $3.7 million


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