Deepfake videos in themselves evoke a range of emotions — a light-hearted chuckle, disgust, and even downright horror– depending on what purpose it has been created for. With the advent of easy deepfake video-making apps, even a novice has got access to creating them. However, things get dangerous when such notorious elements use deepfake techniques to potentially harm the dignity, well-being of people or tend to spread misinformation.
In this article, we list some of the most shocking deepfake videos of 2020:
First Time Use In Indian Election
India saw its first use of deepfake for election purposes in 2020. In February this year, in the run-up to the legislative assembly elections, about two videos of Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari were released. These videos saw Tiwari sharing critical remarks against the AAP-party led Delhi government, in one of which Tiwari was seen to be speaking in English, while the other was in Haryanavi. Later, as per a Vice report, it was revealed that both the videos were actually deepfakes, produced from an original video of Tiwari speaking in Hindi about the CAA Bill.
While this particular use of deepfakes was not as outrageous, relatively, it was quickly pointed out that it sets a precedent for future elections and other parties may follow suit. Some critics said that this encourages a possible misuse of the technology which could hamper the electoral process if left unregulated.
South Park Creator’s Deepfake-Based Show
Makers of American Sitcom South Park have gone a step further and created a whole new series of episodes using deepfakes. In the series named Sassy Justice, the makers use deepfake technology to insert unrelated public figures. This satirical show is hosted by a character named Fred Sassy, a reporter for a local news station in Wyoming. In the first episode that was released in October saw ‘deepfaked’ characters of former Vice President Al Gore, Mark Zuckerberg, and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. The latest in the series showed a ‘Trump special Christmas’ episode, where Sassy sports a deepfaked face of former US President Donald Trump with other varying attributes such as voice, hair, and persona.
A ‘Thoughtful’ Birthday Gift
Popular American socialite and businesswoman Kim Kardashian turned 40 this year and her husband, Grammy-prize winner Kanye West presented a rather unique gift to honour. Knowing well how Kardashian was close to her late father Robert Kardashian, West gifted her deepfaked CGI-replica of her father. In the video that lasted for over 2 minutes, Robert was seen ‘talking’ about how proud he is of his daughter; she called it a ‘special surprise from heaven’. While many termed this as a ‘thoughtful’ gesture, others panned it to be slightly ‘disturbing’.
JFK On Rick and Morty
In a video that has been viewed a million times now, a YouTuber used deepfake technology to manipulate the 1963 footage of late US President John F. Kennedy. In the original video, JFK was speaking about civil rights in his address to the nation. However, in the tweaked version, that lasted just 20 seconds, saw him discuss a popular cartoon, Rick and Morty. He was even heard saying popular catchphrases from the show ‘Wubba Lubba dub dub’.
The YouTuber whose handle name is Ekian M hosts a few other deepfake videos as well.
Deepfaked Video Of Jay-Z
Rap Mogul Jay-Z found himself in a deepfaked video of himself where he was seen ‘rapping’ on Billy Joel’’s track and Hamlet’s paragraph. Based on the complaint about being manipulated content, the video was pulled down from YouTube. Further, the rapper also wasn’t too amused and filed a legal suit against the makers. The complaint was filed on the premise that AI-manipulated videos create copyright implications, and creators must be mindful of it despite harbouring no ‘malicious intent’.
Star Trek Featuring Musk & Bezos
A manipulated video saw Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Tesla CEO Elon Musk in the pilot episode of Star Trek — The Cage. In this video, deepfake version of Bezos was seen playing a Talosian alien with a huge bald head and Musk was seen portraying the role of Captain Christopher. Many termed this video ‘scarily impressive’ even though the audio is slightly unintelligible.
Karl Urban — The New Wolverine?
Continuing in the series of replacing actors from popular movies, a very convincing deepfake video of The Boys actor Karl Urban was released on a YouTube channel named Stryder HD. In this video, Karl Urban was seen as Wolverine, a character that has originally been played by Hugh Jackman. This deepfake video, released in November has already been viewed close to 50,000 times now. Very interestingly, this YouTube page has other similar deepfake videos of Keanu Reeves playing the role of Revan in Star Wars: The Old Republic. This video has garnered over a million views.
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I am a journalist with a postgraduate degree in computer network engineering. When not reading or writing, one can find me doodling away to my heart’s content.