An Obama digital puppet shows how technology is making it more and more possible to conceal fact from fiction, with ever-increasing facsimiles of real people saying things the real people would never say.
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Computer scientists can now make realistic lip-synched videos—ostensibly putting anyone’s words into another person’s mouth.
The animated gif that you see above? That’s not actually Barack Obama speaking. It’s a synthesized video of Obama, made to appear as though he’s speaking words that were actually inputted from an audio file.
The clip comes from researchers at the University of Washington, who developed an algorithm to take audio of someone talking and turn that into a realistic video of someone speaking those words. In the video below, you can see a side-by-side comparison of the original audio—which came from actual Obama remarks—and the generated video.
Rapidly advancing technology makes it difficult to discern between videos of real people and computerized impostors that can be programmed to say anything.