Freddie Mercury Deepfake Is Profoundly Unnerving

OK, everybody hang on tight ’cause these Freddie Mercury deepfake videos have a good chance of blowing you away. This is some of the clearest evidence we’ve ever seen for the potential of deepfakes to emulate faces to the point where we simply can’t tell the difference between what’s real and unreal, and at some moments in the below videos, it seems like we’re there already.

Ctrl Shift Face, who’s previously put Elon Musk’s face on Dave’s in a parody of 2001: A Space Odyssey and morphed Bill Hader into Tom Cruise, delivers his best work yet with this deepfake of the legendary lead singer of Queen. Really, the side-by-side face swap with Rami Malek is impressive, but the one that sticks Mercury’s face on Malek’s for a popular scene from Mr. Robot is legitimately unnerving.

If you’re unfamiliar with deepfake tech, it’s essentially AI—specifically, machine learning algorithms—that takes a source video or image and maps on an external image in a hyperrealistic way. The AI learns what patterns make up the source image and the image to be swapped in, and then figures out what changes need to be made in order to map one onto the other. YouTuber Siraj Raval has a good overview of the tech.

There isn’t much context given for the latest deepfakes from Ctrl Shift Face, but he presumably picked this specific duo because Malek played Mercury in the film, Bohemian Rhapsody. Which brings up an important point: Will we be casting biopics from now on, or simply substituting in a flawless version of some hero’s face on an unseen actor’s body?

What do you think about this deepfake technology? Do you want to see your face on anybody else? Let us know in the comments!

Images: Ctrl Shift Face 

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