‘If you are suckers, it’s not my fault!’ Even creepy deepfake Putin won't admit to meddling in US elections (VIDEO)
A real-time deepfake construct of Vladimir Putin was interviewed live on stage by the MIT Technology Review editor, who ducked into a booth to play the Russian leader. Perfect? Not quite, but rapidly crossing the uncanny valley.
The computerized Putin was asked about (what else) the ‘Russian meddling’ in US politics – specifically, about the much-hyped use of deepfakes and other deceptive technology Americans have been told to expect in 2020 – by Gideon Lichfield, editor in chief of MIT Tech Review, during Wednesday’s EmTech conference.
“We’re not in any way responsible for the weaknesses of the US political system. The nation that cannot tell factual events from fake ones has no right to elect their own leaders,” Lichfield’s Putin replies in poor Russian, before continuing in English:
If you are suckers, it's not my fault.
The match is far from perfect – the face doesn’t quite match Putin’s, and Lichfield’s blond hair sticking out over the hovering visage of the Russian president is extremely distracting – but for a real-time transformation, it’s quite a technological accomplishment.
When Lichfield asks ‘Putin’ for a guarantee Russia won’t use deepfakes to interfere in the 2020 US elections, the deepfake president gives a nod to Russiagaters by leaving the door open to the dreaded interference, responding instead with a Yakov Smirnoff-style joke:
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In America, you create deepfake. In Russia, deepfake creates you.
Congress is reportedly investigating deepfakes, concerned the video forgeries might be deployed during the election, after a slowed-down video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that made her appear drunk went viral in June. While that video was not a deepfake, a video showing President Donald Trump appearing to lick his lips and sticking out his tongue was released by a Seattle TV station back in January, and video-forging software has advanced to the point where a talking head can be animated using a single photograph of a person.
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