Deepfakes – the artificial-intelligence derived technique of mapping one dance onto another – have been causing concerns for some time now.
The possibility of creating convincing “fake news”, with politicians made to say things they didn’t and photorealistic celebrity porn with famous people doing things on camera they would never actually do could undermine our entire society.
But until now, at least, Deepfakes have been fairly hard to make, requiring specialised computer software.
Now all that has changed with a consumer-level app called ZAO which makes it possible for anyone with a smartphone to make completely realistic Deepfake clips.The new app has been developed by Momo, the same company behind popular Chinese dating app Tantan.
It launched on Friday evening and completely blew up the internet over the weekend.
It almost immediately started trending on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, while the app soared to the top of the iPhone download charts.
Chinese social media feeds quickly became filled with ZAO-produced videos from friends and contacts for many users.
Some social media platforms, including WeChat, have already started blocking ZAO videos over safety concerns.
Twitter user Allan Via showed an example of a clip he made with his face replacing Leonardo Di Caprio’s in a number of scenes from his hit films.
He wrote: “In case you haven’t heard, #ZAO is a Chinese app which completely blew up since Friday. Best application of ‘Deepfake’-style AI facial replacement I’ve ever seen.
Sonia Rina Landry is a passionate entrepreneur, speaker, author, and personal development coach. She is an outspoken advocate of the free market economy and has helped countless clients identify their core values, envision and realize goals that resonate with those values. She oversees several businesses online and offline.