Artificial intelligence. Also known as AI.
Having advanced to ludicrous levels in recent years, AI has had the world crooning in awe and fear. Because though it certainly has its advantages…
Its risks are genuinely worrying as well.
Deepfake Videos of Taylor Swift & Donald Trump Speaking Mandarin Went Viral For How Realistic They Are
Taylor Swift and Donald Trump have been spotted speaking Mandarin. Or at least, their deep fake counterparts have been.
So, lest you’re unaware, deep fake videos are essentially vids where real-life faces are plastered over differing bodies, often to realistic degrees. As a result, you could either have your favourite actor acting really out of character or your favourite actress doing some… somewhat shady work.
And it seems that the Swift-Trump combo has been targeted for the Mandarin-speaking community. Though it’s troubling how realistic this particular instance has turned out.
So, in various clips that have since gone viral on Chinese social media, American pop star Taylor Swift could be seen conversing in Chinese in a really fluent manner.
Apart from sharing how she had been to the likes of France and Italy in recent times, she also discussed some of her songs that did not make it to the finish line.
She expressed how she wished her fans could listen to these unreleased tracks.
Though convincing and realistic, the clips were not, in actuality, real.
Instead, they were generated by Chinese start-up HeyGen’s AI-powered video generator.
With over 300 voices, more than 40 languages and over 100 AI avatars of different ethnicities and clothes for users to play around with, the video generator has been lauded and feared for its realism.
A compilation clip of the occurrences has made its way to TikTok as well, and it managed to garner over 330K views and 9.3K likes.
Numerous Netizens actually fell for it.
Leading to fears over how the video generator could be used.
Interestingly, the folks on the Chinese social media platform Weibo had the same sentiments.
“The scariest thing is that if someone uses his technology to make fake news, because the AI is able to manipulate the voice and movement of the mouth, people will easily believe it,” one Netizen commented.
Likewise, former US President Donald Trump has received the same treatment.
Had it not been for the hashtag NewGen, it would have been genuinely difficult not to believe it.
After all, the artificial voices even possess some of the hallmarks that distinguished the originals, such as Taylor Swift’s slight American slang and Donald Trump’s trademark slow, weathered enunciation.
Don’t worry about John Cena’s versions, though. His lao gan ma videos are undoubtedly legitimate.
This is really ironic, considering how John Cena’s version seems way more out of character than the deepfake variations.
The netizens’ fears are not entirely unfounded.
Earlier in 2023, a scammer in Northern China had abused deep fake technology to procure some 4.3 million yuan (S$823,000).
He had used AI-powered face-swapping tech to assume the role of another person during a video call. The other party, believing the ruse, transferred the entire amount.
China has, however, implemented measures to curb such tactics, such as enforcing new rules that require deepfake-affiliated businesses to procure their users’ true identities.
Deepfake content also has to be tagged accordingly so that there will be no confusion.
Meanwhile, Europe has seen a growing number of scammers using audio deepfake clips to trick people.
Though Singapore has not seen such a trend yet, the nation is aware and wary of it. In fact, earlier this year, Minister of State for Home Affairs Sun Xueling warned about such issues at the Regional Anti-Scam Conference 2023.
And in 2022, a Singaporean man had found himself in a porn video that he had no recollection of.
As it turned out, his face had been used in a deepfake porn video.