The Shepp Report

Special Edition

Part 3

AI: The End Of Believable News?


February 27, 2019



"Fake Audio And Video Footage Is On The Increase, Spreading lies One [Online] Share At A Time. Is This The End Of Reality?"


Article from Richard Van Hooijdonk, May 8, 2018, "Is This The End Of Reality?"


"In the future, there’ll be video ‘evidence’ of whatever you want (others) to believe."

"We’re becoming increasingly accustomed to seeing and even sharing manipulated content. Think photoshopped super models or virtual and augmented reality filters in social media apps like Snapchat." - RichardVanHooijdonk

"And as if this isn’t problematic enough – for various, obvious reasons – new types of audio and video manipulation tools are emerging, driven by high-tech computer graphic tools and advanced artificial intelligence. These enable the creation – literally, from scratch – of hyper-realistic looking footage of (prominent) figures saying, well, just about anything. And figuring out whether what you hear and see is real is becoming a serious challenge." - RichardVanHooijdonk

Video Source: RichardVanHooijdonk


Voice Impersonation And Fake Video: Fooling Humans As Well As Biometric Authentication Systems

"A team of researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham has been working on voice impersonation. With less than 5 minutes of footage of someone’s voice – whether it’s a live sample or audio taken from radio or YouTube – a synthesized likeness can be created that’s so authentic sounding that it can fool biometric authentication systems as well as humans.

These can be used, for example, for turning textbooks into audio versions featuring the voices of famous people. Although these sound like relatively harmless applications of the technology, imagine combining this with face-morphing tech, which would open a Pandora’s Box of not-so-kosher possibilities, like well-known people making false statements.

A good example is the Synthesizing Obama Project by the University of Washington. During this study, the audio from one of Obama’s speeches was used in a completely different video of the former U.S. president. This was accomplished by using hours and hours of footage to train a recurrent neural network. Have a look at the below video:

Synthesizing Obama: Learning Lip Sync from Audio Supasorn Suwajanakorn, Steven M. Seitz, Ira Kemelmacher-Shlizerman SIGGRAPH 2017

"Given audio of President Barack Obama, we synthesize a high quality video of him speaking with accurate lip sync, composited into a target video clip. Trained on many hours of his weekly address footage, a recurrent neural network learns the mapping from raw audio features to mouth shapes. Given the mouth shape at each time instant, we synthesize high quality mouth texture, and composite it with proper 3D pose matching to change what he appears to be saying in a target video to match the input audio track." - SupasornSuwajanakorn

Video Source: SupasornSuwajanakorn


At Stanford University, researchers led by Dr Matthias Niessner have developed software called Face2Face, which can be used to manipulate video to enable a second person to put words in the speaker’s mouth – in real time.

It’s basically a more sophisticated version of SnapChat’s face-swap. Using a webcam, the research team captures the second person’s facial expressions, after which the footage is morphed – in real time – onto the face of the person in the initial video. The technology was demonstrated with videos of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, and a live demonstration of the result was broadcast during a late night talk show.


Fake News Is As Old As Genuine News. But This Time It’s Different

Pablo Boczkowski, a professor in the School of Communication at Northwestern Universitytells the media company Seeker that 'Fake news is as old as true news. There’s always been misinformation. What we have now is an information infrastructure that is very different, with a scale and a scope that we haven’t seen before.'

Video and sound recordings have always appeared incorruptible, and have been exploited to mislead for decades. Since World War I, there has been film propaganda. In those days, however, the process was expensive and time consuming. Furthermore, it wasn’t difficult to distinguish between real actors and animations.

But with current technology, fake or dead people can play in movies alongside actors who are very much alive. And they can be made to say and do virtually anything. Until very recently, this type of ‘magic’ required sophisticated and very costly computing.

But that’s all changed. Some of these audio and video manipulation programs, created with machine learning algorithms, can even be downloaded for free – if you know what to look for. Then, using a simple home computer and open source code, anyone with a working knowledge of deep learning algorithms and a bit of imagination can create a very convincing video in which one person’s face is morphed onto another person’s body.


Video Faking Is Destroying Trust At Every Possible Level

The proliferation of these easy and cheap techniques to create fake video not only has the potential to be damaging to people’s reputations and integrity, it also destroys trust at every level. Face-swapping has been used in porn videos, transposing the images of public figures such as pop stars, actors, and other celebs. This practice can even be used to inflame community or racial differences or to commit crimes like extortion.

And even though this type of morphing technology is still far from perfect, given time, we will eventually be able to recreate someone’s voice or appearance in extremely convincing ways – so much so that it will be virtually impossible to tell the difference between authentic and fabricated footage. Shared on social media, footage like this could go viral in an instant and have disastrous consequences. People have been proven to share clearly fake articles or photos far and wide – thinking they’re true – without thinking twice. The ramifications when it comes to this new type of doctored video footage can potentially be far worse.


In The Future, There’ll Be Video ‘Evidence’ Of Whatever You Want (Others) To Believe

Already there’s an abundance of news stories, blogs and articles supporting what we (want others to) believe – whatever our prejudices. In the future, there’ll be video ‘evidence’ for each and every thing you want corroborated as well.

Whether it’s Trump confessing to the many allegations against him, or footage of a senator involved in a misdeed, or the Pope getting it on with a popstar. Footage of a politician making a dirty deal or a businessman engaging in fraudulent practices will be increasingly difficult to authenticate.

What happens when every recording of a corporate misstep, every video of a cheating spouse, even children’s baby pictures, lose their credibility as evidence? And what about doctored video used for smearing political opponents – which becomes an increasingly likely possibility as this technology becomes more widely available?

It won’t really matter whether or for what length of time the footage will hold up, because once it goes viral, it will leave an impression with millions of people that even debunking will not completely take away.

Donald Trump has reportedly already claimed that the Access Hollywood 'grab ’em by the p****' comment wasn’t made by him. In two years’ time, he might have a valid (albeit untrue) argument that it was fabricated.

"This demo video is purely research-focused and we would like to clarify the goals and intent of our work. Our aim is to demonstrate the capabilities of modern computer vision and graphics technology, and convey it in an approachable and fun way. We want to emphasize that computer-generated videos have been part in feature-film movies for over 30 years.

Virtually every high-end movie production contains a significant percentage of synthetically-generated content (from Lord of the Rings to Benjamin Button). These results are hard to distinguish from reality and it often goes unnoticed that the content is not real. The novelty and contribution of our work is that we can edit pre-recorded videos in real-time on a commodity PC.

Please also note that our efforts include the detection of edits in video footage in order to verify a clip’s authenticity. For additional information, we refer to our project website. Hopefully, you enjoyed watching our video, and we hope to provide a positive takeaway." - MatthiasNiessner

Video Source: MatthiasNiessner

These developments can only lead to a breakdown in trust in society and a steady increase in the general feelings of suspicion many of us already have. Are we inching closer to a world in which truth and lies coexist in such a way that we are unable to distinguish between the two? Will people eventually believe whatever they want, regardless of the actual truth? [Of course they will. They already are!]


How Can We Make Sure The Footage Is Real (Or Not)?

Because of the extensive distribution of hyper-realistic fake news content on social media and the resulting erosion of trust, scrutinising content that looks and sounds authentic will become increasingly important. And this will take more than advertising bans by social media giants or automated fact-checking tools that can identify fake news before it gets a chance to spread. Consumers of social news – which is practically all of us – will have to do their bit as well.

According to Mandy Jenkins from Storyful, a social news firm specialising in the verification of news content, people will need to check whether the audio is synced properly, take a close look at shadows and lighting and corroborate this with the time of day the video was supposedly taken, and ascertain if the sizing of all the elements in the video is correct. Other things to look out for are the location where the footage was created, if weather conditions match weather records of that day, and which other people were present at the event.

'What needs to change is the culture of interpretation,' says Boczkowski. 'When a story about Pope Francis endorsing the candidacy of Donald Trump gets more than one million shares, that tells us that we have a culture of critique that’s not ready to distinguish this kind of misinformation.'

Hopefully, the explosion of fake news and audio/video manipulation technology and the potential damage it can cause will make us realise that we need to take a much closer look at content on social media before we hit the ‘share’ button."


Above article from Richard Van Hooijdonk, May 8, 2018, "Is This The End Of Reality?"



Deepfakes - Real Consequences. - ColdFusion

Video Source: ColdFusion



"Theres a new trend on the interwebs called 'Deepfakes', a machine learning system that can be trained to paste one person's face onto another person's body, complete with facial expressions. The effect isn't yet more convincing than conventional computer graphics techniques, but it could democratize Hollywood-level special effects fakery - and, potentially, lead to a flood of convincing hoaxes. I'll explain how DeepFakes works both programmatically and thoeretically in this video. It's essentially 2 autoencoders trained on 2 image datasets and then we reconstruct image A using image B's decoder." - SirajRaval

Video Source: SirajRaval



Even Fake Candidates? You Bet. In Fact They're Already Here!

Fake news? Fake candidates? What's the difference? Here is another reality check about the running of a leftist candidate in a growing progressive America since the rise of social justice Obama in 2008, this time specifically Democrat candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) from New York State's 14th congressional district in the 2018 election and a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. - TheRedPillBook

Video Source: TheRedPillBook



. . . Fake Education?

Student loans: Money making scheme for corrupted universities

Fixing America's Student Loan Mess! - TuckerCarlson / FOXNews

Video Source: TuckerCarlson / FOXNews



. . . Fake City Leaders.

Leftists continue to destroy American cities under the banner that multiculturalism is more important than the safety of its citizens. Hmm, that sounds like Europe!

“'This one,' he writes, 'is about everyone else. It’s about citizens who don’t feel safe taking their families into downtown Seattle. It’s about parents who won’t take their children into the public parks they pay for. It’s about filth and degradation all around us. And theft and crime. It’s about people who don’t feel protected anymore, who don’t feel like their voices are being heard.' Johnson continues: 'This program is not about demonizing those who are struggling with addiction and homelessness and mental illness. On the contrary. Instead, it asks the question, ‘Why aren’t we doing more? Why don’t we have the courage to intervene in lives that are, in the face of a grave sickness, reeling out of control?’” - OregonLive

Video Source: KOMO, Seattle



. . . And Fake Religion, Too?!

Why are these women smiling? Praise The Lord! They and their "church" have partnered up with Planned Parenthood.

“The pastors praised Planned Parenthood’s work and blasted a state bill that would defund the abortion group and redirect tax dollars to community health centers that don’t provide abortions." - Canada Free Press

"How many church goers filling Sunday pews at the United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Episcopal Church, Unitarian Universalist Association, Christian Church (Disciple of Christ) and Unity Church realize that their pastors publicly stated their support of the abortion chain Planned Parenthood twice in the past two years?" - CanadaFreePress

Photo Source: CanadaFreePress



And Now Fake Social Media!

"Amazon Admits To Listening In On And Analyzing Private Conversations And Intimate Moments Through Alexa." - TheBlaze




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