A portmanteau of "deep learning" and "fake"
January 8, 2020 11:35 AM   Subscribe

Shamook (SHAM00K) is master deepfake artist.
In his latest Youtube video, he partnered with impressionist Jim Meskimen to perform their poem “Deeper metrics of Christmas”, as read by 20 celebrities.
Other “Deepfakers” (some of which were mentioned previously on Metafilter) are:
- Ctrl Shift Face
- Derpfake
- birbfakes
Otherwise: Wikipedia
posted by growabrain (19 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
As a working media production editor, I and my colleagues are still unimpressed. Deep fakes still only read as cartoonish obvious stunts to any slightly deeper than cursory read. Plus well . . . metadata stills gives up the game in a matter of seconds.
posted by Harry Caul at 11:46 AM on January 8 [3 favorites]

I mean I don't think the point is necessarily to convince people that e.g. Will Smith starred in the Matrix or Obama really starred in the Black Panther? Likewise I can tell when kung fu fighters are using wires, but that's ok.

This deep fake art is not for me, I don't especially enjoy it or really even get it, but I am somewhat interested in keeping tabs on the state of the art, so I did enjoy a brief perusal :)
posted by SaltySalticid at 11:49 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]

Really? I thought the illusion for the majority of those were almost complete if not for the hair. As someone who can't even fake a half convincing accent of any kind, Jim Meskimen's magic seems equally impressive to the DeepFake tech.
posted by gwint at 11:49 AM on January 8 [5 favorites]

Yeah, the more this kind of thing is made public (I think the Washington Post recently had a front page article about GANs (i.e. thispersondoesnotexist.com) the better, so that when the inevitable fake of Trump announcing that he is about to, uh, let's say, start a war, more folks will be skeptical*. I know it works both ways though: People will use it as an excuse to disbelieve, say, a video showing police brutality.

*Yes, I know he'll do it on Twitter instead
posted by gwint at 11:53 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]

deep fakes are one of the scariest things in the world to me. i know the tech isn't quite there yet, but does anyone have an idea of how long it will be until they're "ready for terrifying prime-time?" like are we talking months? a year? five years?

agree that it's good to make this kind of stuff public, also it would be good to know what the "tells" are, i.e. where to look first. I couldn't actually find the WaPo article that gwint mentioned above, but I think I remember reading something in a mainstream news outlet recently that described some of the common "tells" in the GAN-generated images from thispersondoesnotexist.com.

Of course, now I can't remember what they are. dang, i have to find that piece again!

(on preview: I think I found it or something similar from one of the mentioned previously links: Learn To Spot Fake Faces at a Glance time to reread that right now)
posted by capnsue at 12:27 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]

Given the number of people who believe incredibly obvious lies, e.g. QAnon, I wouldn't underestimate the power of something that take two minutes to debunk.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:42 PM on January 8 [10 favorites]

Huh. It seems I actually can't distinguish among white male celebrities to begin with! Like, good on Anthony Hopkins and Colin Firth for being different people, and I'm sure the impressions and face-mapping/deep-faking or whatever were very good generally, but I didn't super-read the post and watched the whole first video trying to figure out if the impressionist was Steve Martin or [Googles furiously, "canadian maybe dead actor white hair funny not steve martin"] Leslie Nielsen.

If you told me "Willem Dafoe" was a town in the Netherlands, I would probably go along with it.
posted by wreckingball at 12:46 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]

Learn To Spot Fake Faces at a Glance time to reread that right now

The state of the art is moving so fast that a lot of that info is already out of date. See: StyleGAN2
posted by gwint at 12:52 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]

When I fear for the future with increasingly advanced disinformation campaigns, I console myself by thinking of all the deepfake movie edits. We'll move from Shrek at the dog show and Mike Wazowski riding a pony (previously), and get into fans modifying movies to fill plot holes or make new footage where they didn't have deleted or alternative footage to patch in.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:45 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]

I'm confused, was that meant to be David Bowie singing a song from The Book of Mormon?
posted by lovelyzoo at 2:22 PM on January 8

See the Ctrl-Shift-Face channel.
posted by lovelyzoo at 2:23 PM on January 8

Meanwhile, because, of course:

Dating apps need women. Advertisers need diversity. AI companies offer a solution: Fake people (Washington Post)
posted by jquinby at 2:41 PM on January 8

Everyone's good at detecting deepfake videos when they are sitting in their office goofing off, have a heads up they're about to watch a deepfake, and are giving the task their undivided attention. That isn't how scams work, though. They get sprung on you when you aren't ready, when you're distracted by other things, and they're designed not to fool you but to nudge you towards acting on a belief or desire that you are already predisposed to. Consequently, they don't have to be perfect. Just good enough.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 2:46 PM on January 8 [15 favorites]

also it would be good to know what the "tells" are, i.e. where to look first

I'm no expert (and it seems like deepfakes are getting better over time) but these are the things that I notice in unconvincing deepfakes:

1) ears or jawline that doesn't look right- deepfakes seem to just swap out faces, so ears or a jawline that aren't the right size can be a tell

2) the face is deepfaked well from straight-on, but when the person turns their head to the side, their "original" face can break in for a second or two- like, if you slow down the video “Deeper metrics of Christmas", to like 25%, there's a slight head turn during the George Bush impression at 3:17, and when the face is turned to the side, it stops looking like George Bush and looks more like a composite of Bush and Meskimen
posted by 23skidoo at 3:24 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]

Frankly given the amount of colossally stupid obviously-fake shit being passed around uncritically in armchair-politics Facebook, deepfakes are already past the believability threshold where I'd have expected them to be widely weaponized--both by actually spreading faked videos of... well, anybody, saying anything, but also by widespread spurious "debunking" analysis of actually-legitimate video as "obviously deepfaked" (in the vein of flat-earthers debunking NASA footage and stuff like that) when the content doesn't fit someone's preconceived notions.

I fully expect this to be a Big Fuckin Problem long before the videos are at a technical point where they pass some high bar of forensic scrutiny, and I don't know that there's any easy solutions to that.
posted by churl at 4:08 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]

Deep-faking aside, I think Meskimen is a brilliant impressionist.
posted by Quasimike at 6:10 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]

ears or jawline that doesn't look right

I think face shape in general needs to match for this to be convincing. Nick Offerman looked like his face was too round and wide to fit on Meskismen's skull, and similar with Arnold.

The other thing is that an impressionist typically caricatures the impressionee's gestures and idiosyncrasies. So to make this really convincing, he'd probably need to go from a ten to a seven.

Still, Meskimen is really good at what he does. I'd love to see him take on some subtler actors.
posted by condour75 at 6:32 PM on January 8

And the poem's not half bad either. (transcribed from video:

The Deeper Metrics of Christmas -- Jim Meskimen

When the
Sun dips below the horizon and
seems to descend far too soon
when the
trees lose their leaves and stand naked
the wind blows as cold as the moon
when the
birds wing it south for the winter
at least that's where they seemed to head
then our thoughts tend to drift
toward Christmas with a mixture of
pleasure and dread.
December compresses, gets shorter
feels like the month lasts a week
and a hectic commotion arises
till our sanity plays hide-and-seek
the colorful bright decorations,
music, ribbons,
the swag,
glow and gleam.
the promise of pleasures
--as long as you scan
the price tag.
and though most of us
grasp well the concept mere stuff
will not Christmas time make
and we poopoo the grossly commercial
as capitalism's mistake
and we swear in our faith in the
spirit whatever the heck that word means
still our goal not to worship consumption
shattered all to smithereens.
for which are the true metrics of Christmas
if not measured in dollars and cents
or the miles travelled non-stop domestic
in our efforts to gain
like pollsters
obsessed with percentage
we strive with each package and gift
to boost our esteem
and cause sagging poll points to lift.
if only we had,
so we reason,
the more we could buy and bestow
all is dross to be sure
but regardless
do not presents make loved ones' hearts glow?
our extravagance forms a vast tangle
standing tightly impacted by guilt,
barricading in
our better natures
in our efforts to blossom
we wilt.
recognition attention affection some
laughter a smile an embrace
these aren't for sale down at the Walmart or
at any online marketplace.
so at last to our shame
it's just obvious, looking back
at the month we just spent
dashing all over town for some bobble in the frenzy
of mass discontent.
that that moment we spent
to ask grandpa
what he liked to do in his youth
or that task we help mama to finish
were the things that
made Christmas in truth.
all the presents
were all soon forgotten
they lay in a pile
in the trash
insecurities dressed up
like bridesmaids their value just gone
in a flash
far too soon we discover our folly as
the calendar leaves drop away
precious little is paid for with money
will make for a great Christmas Day.
I hope someday we'll learn this lesson
it isn't just sums or amounts
the essential metrics of Christmas
are those numbers
that no one can count.

posted by storybored at 7:36 AM on January 9 [3 favorites]

Did anyone else find the Morgan Freeman part kind of offensive? It was almost like digital whiteface
posted by Cogito at 11:00 PM on January 9

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