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Nick Bilton, Vanity Fair, January 26, 2016: Fake News is about to get even scarier than you ever dreamed.
At corporations and universities across the country, incipient technologies appear likely to soon obliterate the line between real and fake. Or, in the simplest of terms, advancements in audio and video technology are becoming so sophisticated that they will be able to replicate real news—real TV broadcasts, for instance, or radio interviews—in unprecedented, and truly indecipherable, ways.
One research paper published last year by professors at Stanford University and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg demonstrated how technologists can record video of someone talking and then change their facial expressions in real time. The professors’ technology could take a news clip of, say, Vladimir Putin, and alter his facial expressions in real time in hard-to-detect ways.
The technology already exists in Hollywood and the video-game industry where they have made digital avatars almost indecipherable from real people.
When it comes to audio, Adobe has a new product called "Photoshop for audio." Users can feed about 10 minutes of someone's voice into the software, type in a few words, and then listen to an exact duplicate of that voice in a recording of those typed words.
The days of Swift Boaters conducting smear campaigns against a candidate are rising to a whole new level. Soon you might be able to see a YouTube video of a perfect avatar giving a speech by Barack Obama on the why he loves Vladimir Putin.