Don't trust video anymore: computers can now put anyone's words in anyone else's mouth.

Don't trust video anymore: computers can now put anyone's words in anyone else's mouth.
Advertising

Here's the rare piece of technology that might be used by both spies and video game developers—a face-mapping animation technology based on emotional expressions that can essentially manufacture realistic-looking video of famous people saying anything a creator wants. In this demonstration, for example, the words of former President George W. Bush's are inserted into the mouths of the most powerful and influential people in the world: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Neil Patrick Harris. Warning: uncanny valley below.

It's part of a project made by researchers at the University of Washington. The cool thing is that when puppet Barack Obama starts talking like George W. Bush, he really makes the expressions that Barack Obama would make — not the ones you expect to see from Bush. They also slow down the speech and modify the voice. With any person who is on camera a lot, like an actor or politician, this technology can capture and catalog different moods, facial tics, and states of contemplation. With this facial vocabulary, you can have the puppet version say entirely new words, because the computer "knows" what that person's face would do, keeping their personality and character traits intact. As one YouTube commenter said, "This is going to revolutionize the Tom Hanks porn industry."

Advertising