News Outlets Can Now Use Facial Manipulation Techniques On Politicians

facial manipulation of politicians

Stanford University have unveiled a new technique whereby mainstream media news outlets can alter the facial expressions during a supposed ‘live’ interview with a politician, in order to fool the masses. 

Though the tone of the video [below] is decidedly calm and monotone, the implications of what the researchers are saying is disturbing.

It is not clear whether these techniques are already being used, or will be in the future. Either way, it should be considered an urgent wake-up call to anyone who watches the mainstream news … welcome to the world of facial manipulation.

As described in an article from Stanford entitled: “Face2Face: Real-time Face Capture and Reenactment of RGB Videos, researchers pick a variety of world leaders such as Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush, and then using an actor they make their mouths move to say whatever they like in real-time:

We present a novel approach for real-time facial reenactment of a monocular target video sequence (e.g., Youtube video). The source sequence is also a monocular video stream, captured live with a commodity webcam. Our goal is to animate the facial expressions of the target video by a source actor and re-render the manipulated output video in a photo-realistic fashion.

To this end, we first address the under-constrained problem of facial identity recovery from monocular video by non-rigid model-based bundling. At run time, we track facial expressions of both source and target video using a dense photometric consistency measure. Reenactment is then achieved by fast and efficient deformation transfer between source and target.

The mouth interior that best matches the re-targeted expression is retrieved from the target sequence and warped to produce an accurate fit. Finally, we convincingly re-render the synthesized target face on top of the corresponding video stream such that it seamlessly blends with the real-world illumination. We demonstrate our method in a live setup, where Youtube videos are reenacted in real time.

Watch the video below and tell us what you think: harmless fun or something more sinister?

Royce Christyn
About Royce Christyn (3467 Articles)
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