Tom Cruise deepfakes on TikTok level to extra severe issues with real looking phony movies
Experts warn that compelling “deep fake” videos are entertaining but have serious consequences. (TikTok / Deeptomcruise)
A compelling deepfake of Tom Cruise is entertaining, but it has dire consequences.
To the casual observer, Tom Cruise’s recent deepfake videos on TikTok, which have been viewed more than 11 million times since Tuesday, look believable playing golf, doing magic tricks and telling jokes about Mikhail Gorbachev.
However, if you take a closer look, you will see tiny imperfections in restoring his voice, exaggerated mannerisms, a slightly different body type, and other small anomalies.
The problem is, in order to know that the Tom Cruise videos are fake, most people would have to be given notice beforehand or get to the video through the deeptomcruise TikTok account where the videos first appeared.
The bigger danger is that it’s a tiny leap from a Tom Cruise fake to an unflattering revenge video by a former spouse. And as deepfake technology improves, the likelihood that more people will believe in it increases.
Deepfakes are described by Microsoft as “photos, videos or audio files that are manipulated by artificial intelligence (AI) in ways that are difficult to detect”.
In a report, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) says the underlying technology of deepfakes “can replace faces, manipulate facial expressions, synthesize faces, and synthesize speech”.
The most common deepfakes – a word that combines computational deep learning and fake – replace the real person in a video with someone else. And they can be used very effectively to make it appear like someone, usually a famous person, is saying and doing something they have never said or done. Or used as blackmail in a fake pornography scheme.
One of the most notorious deepfakes is that Barack Obama calls Donald Trump “total and complete dips —“. Again, it’s pretty convincing, except that the president’s voice isn’t exactly right.
The GAO Science and Tech Spotlight goes on to say that deepfakes have positive uses, but are generally not used that way.
“While deepfakes have harmless and legitimate uses in areas like entertainment and commerce, they are often used for exploitation,” says the GAO.
And the best deepfakes are now so realistic that it takes sophisticated know-how to recognize one.
“Deepfake technology has reached the point where the authenticity of a video can hardly be confirmed as real,” said Brandon Hoffman, chief information security officer at Netenrich, a cybersecurity company, to Fox News.
“Media companies don’t want to be the ignorant participants who create widespread panic … With deepfakes, they are able to decide whether to video a piece without technology to help them confirm authenticity or not fake, “said Hoffman.
The TikTok account left no clues as to who was behind the videos, but several reports identified it as the work of a Belgian visual effects expert who hired a Tom Cruise impersonator. Fox News has approached TikTok for a comment.