The News Pig – Insert your face into TV shows or movies with just a single photograph
Zao, a free deepfake face-swapping app that’s able to to place your likeness into scenes from hundreds of movies and TV shows after uploading just a single photograph, has gone viral in China. Bloomberg reports that the app was published on Friday and rapidly reached the top of the free graphs on the Chinese iOS App Store. And like the FaceApp aging app before it, the creators of Zao are now facing a backlash over a perceived threat to user privacy.
Twitter user Allan Xia posted a nice demonstration of what the app was capable of yesterday with a 30 second clip of her face replacing Leonardo Dicaprio in popular moments from several of his movies. According to Xia, the videos were produced in less than eight seconds from a single photo, but Bloomberg notes that the app can also guide you through the process of taking a sequence of photos— where you’ll be asked to open and close your mouth and eyes— to produce more realistic outcomes.
According to Xia, the app only offers a limited number of clips for you to insert your face into. The app’s developer has likely trained their algorithms on each of these clips to easily re-map a user’s face onto them, as Xia speculates. The app can not map your face to any video clip of your choice.
The technology looks similar to what we’ve seen recently from researchers at London’s Imperial College, who showed off technology that’s able to turn a single photo into a singing portrait. The difference here is that Zao is inserting your likeness into an existing video, rather than animating a photo of you directly. Nevertheless, it demonstrates how quickly the underlying technology has evolved: what once required hundreds of images to create a rather convincing deepfake video now requires just a single image with better results.
AN ALMOST-IMMEDIATE BACKLASH FROM USERS OVER PRIVACY
Protesters in Hong Kong are going to great lengths to cover their faces over fears that police are using facial recognition technology to identify and arrest targets. People are increasingly aware of how important their facial imagery data is, and are rightly concerned about companies who don’t make adequate safeguards to protect it.
Whenever a service is provided for free, a company is inevitably profiting from your data. Sometimes it’s for better ad targeting, sometimes it’s to train their AI for better facial recognition. You often don’t know.
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