Scientists create fake Obama using Artificial Intelligence

Fake news has become a catch-phrase in the digital sphere and often times it is hard to differentiate reality from fiction.

A new study released Wednesday indicates fake news about the August 8 General Election is widespread on social media.

Sadly, the fake news scourge is only going to get worse. Soon, fake and real will become synonymous thanks to new video-editing tools being made by scientists in the US.

Researchers at the University of Washington have produced a photorealistic former US President Barack Obama.

Artificial Intelligence was used to precisely model how Mr Obama moves his mouth when he speaks.

Their technique allows them to put any words into their synthetic Barack Obama’s mouth.

The realistic results put words in Obama’s mouth by converting audio sounds into mouth movements and blending them onto an existing video of speech.

The scientists behind the project say realistic audio-to-video conversion has practical applications like improving video conferencing for meetings.

“When you watch Skype or Google Hangouts, often the connection is stuttery and low-resolution and really unpleasant, but often the audio is pretty good,” said co-author and Allen School professor Steve Seitz.

“So if you could use the audio to produce much higher-quality video, that would be terrific.”

Until now, video lip-syncing involved hours of filming and editing. But the computer programme can create a clip with new audio after analysing one hour of speech rather than 14, the Telegraph reports.

Does this herald reality as we know it? Will we soon have to ask whether a video is real news or fake news?

The researchers behind the video manipulation argue that the computer system they have created could also be reversed to make a verification tool. Videos could be fed into the system to check if they are real or have been tampered with, they said.

So why did the researchers choose Obama for their project? The scientists chose Obama for their work because there were hours of high-definition video of him available online in the public domain, they said.

Additional reporting by BBC

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