Topic: On The Subject of DeepFakes

Just shifting the conversation in here so we're not clogging the Good Videos thread if people want to continue it.

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drewjmore wrote:

"Rise of Skywalker" opened while I was ever so briefly in LA last December.
In the immediate debrief of our communal viewing [namedrop] Ryan and Seth [/namedrop] strenuously disagreed with me that deepfake tech might have been (or should have been) used to enhance the late Ms. Fisher's performances. I have yet to re-watch, so I remain on the fence.

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Teague wrote:

All things being equal?

Me being an idiot?

Me having not seen the movie?

Me being the most arrogant thing that has ever happened?

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I think you're right.

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This is going to be a touchy subject for VFXers.

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BigDamnArtist wrote:
Teague wrote:

This is going to be a touchy subject for VFXers.

So here's the thing: It's gonna be used. Absolutely no studio on the face of the planet is going to turn down what DeepFake, even in it's current infancy, can do. That's a given.

The problem (in my mind, other may not agree) is that it has just suddenly skyrocketed into this position of putting the morality of what VFX is and does at the forefront. There was a bit of a kerfuffle around Tarkin and Leia and things like that, but for the most part it was just the BIG studios that had the manpower and skills to be able to pull it off effectively, so it got swept under the rug and everyone moved on with their lives. DeepFakes though? Assholes were making /damn/ convincing fakes on their home computers 2 years ago. Today they're making stuff that completely passes for real.

Suddenly this is tech that is and will be available to everyone a couple years from now to do WHATEVER they want with it . And I think that /when/ the VFX industry decides it's gonna be okay with all the possibilities that brings; good, bad, and oh shit russia just took over the world; they'll be the single biggest force advancing the tech (that the public will know about *puts on tinfoil hat*). And like all things it can't and won't stay proprietary for very long. Granted it's probably going to take another decade for publicly available versions of the tech to get to the point where you could build a fake out of a feasibly small sample pool for it to learn from (AFAIU the tech, it needs a LOT of training data to make it work right now, which is really limiting on who you can dupe)... but even still.

Kinda went off the rails there for a sec... but to the actual point. I honestly don't give a shit about any arguments about whether or not it's valid VFX, or a lazy cheat or blehwhatever, everything we've ever done since we figured out how to project light onto chemicals to make an image has been a hack and a cheat to improve the quality and make it cheaper and easier. But I think there's gonna be a turning point, not just in VFX, but as a society around the morality and ultimately legality of DeepFakes, that VFX is gonna be a part of whether it wants to or not.

And this is where we start entering that section where near future theorizing gets real cyberpunk... what with governments banning Identity Scapers and Dupers while they secretly use them for their own gain, VFX studios are heavily regulated as to what they are and aren't allowed to do, and the world is forced to reckon with the idea that literally nothing they see can be trusted, and gaddamn I really need to go play Deus Ex again...

TLDR: BDA is a fatalistic asshole. DeepFake exists in the world now, it's too powerful and useful to not be used and improved, regardless of who's doing it. So how we proceed from there is a question of morality, not an if.

ZangrethorDigital.ca

Re: On The Subject of DeepFakes

Pitch: Just like Winston from "1984" but in a modern, not-to-distant future...

'They' create an app that goes into peoples phones, cloud accounts and photocopier cache memories to edit images & videos to remove things 'the government' doesn't want people to know about.
Obvious solution: return everything to physical media; plot twist: you can't!

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Re: On The Subject of DeepFakes

I mean, you're not wrong. I'm not sure it would even be possible for modern civilization to go back to working through hard copies of everything without a complete societal collapse first.

As for Cyberpunk Dystopia concepts, my brain went the route of what happens when DeepFake meets the rise of the all consuming surveillance state. Either the one we can see (London) or the one we can't (NSA in every phone, XBox and fridge near you). What happens when anyone with the penchant to go looking, can find hours upon hours of high resolution surveillance footage being feed live to central government storage for processing.

I mean, one day I'm absolutely working this into an actual project, but this is verbatim what I wrote in my random ideas doc last night:

"Identity Scraper. Virus that spreads out across the omni-present CCTV network that covers the City. Silently gathering thousands of hours of behavioral data, voice and visual reference on a specified target, which is then sent to an Identity Duper that process’s that data into a fully functioning digital clone for all your nefarious needs."

ZangrethorDigital.ca

Re: On The Subject of DeepFakes

Thus intensifying the arms race. Excellent.

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Re: On The Subject of DeepFakes

I think it's an excellent tool. A gift and a curse.
While the technology allows us to revive actors and actresses visually, getting their voices right is something else, albeit, according to Adobe, totally possible too.

I like the idea of getting performances post mortem, especially if the person in question died before being able to complete their work, because as a person of the audience, it's great. Simultaneously, as an ethical human being, it's digital cloning in the ethical "should it be done" kinda way.

For instance. Ryan (Wieber)sort of pioneered cloning done at a home computer back in the day. Sure he wasn't the first to do it, but in our fairly closed community, he was the first to perfect it. At least for 2004(ish) standards.
However, Ryan did both performances and then seamlessly blended it together to make seem like there were indeed two of him (or more) in the shot. Great stuff.

The issue now is that even though someone actually kicked the bucket, we can bring them back no worries. All it takes is computational power, and time. And while I really enjoyed Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One(although not a deep fake), it also means that nobody really ever dies.
It's a great concept for the audience, but at the same time, we gotta take families and friends into consideration. Say I died. And people would watch me on screen for the next 25 years. They would have issues with it, for sure.

I mean, it's hard to explain, at least in a semi-drunk, semi-coma state, as I'm not feeling my best, but there's pros and cons to this technology, and while the pros may outweigh the cons from a viewer perspective, the ethic perspective is on the other side of the equation, and it's a hard balance to, well, balance. Similar to human cloning, except it's all virtual.

On a side-note, there was a video going fairly viral a little while ago, where a mother was able to meet her deceased child in a VR fashion. It was heart-breaking to watch, and while that was an interactive experience, and an experiment, it almost falls in the same category, ethically. I forget where I saw it, but a quick google search brought this up:

Re: On The Subject of DeepFakes

Distopias aside, I think the most pertinent application is to persons still living.  The relatives of the dead might complain or they might call for it. The main misuse I see in this would be with sequels or half finished stuff in dispute where the studio thinks it has some piece of paper it can wave around that they have the "rights to the character" or some nonsense, without having to ask or pay the actor involved.  To me this is why Fisher was NOT faked, Disney didn't want to be seen as having done that, but ONLY because of the extreme PR risk of tanking their baby, not out of any moral sense that it was wrong.  But the second Hawkeye wants out of playing Hawkeye?

In 50 years we'll be in another world though. Snow Crash's "Ractors" I think. Hire a good cheap actor to shoot the baseplate, then copy paste the voice and face of your Disney Guaranteed Individual (Guaranteed not to be anyone real!)

Also... Vast amounts of FUR. Cats was a warning.

Last edited by Beeg (2020-03-05 19:16:43)

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