Deepfake: An AI created video which imitates a person’s gestures and mannerisms with the intent of communicating disinformation to the viewer.
There is a trend in which technology and the moving image blend with and cross over what we know to be true. Deepfake software, allows a user to manipulate a person’s gestures, expressions and facial personality movement taken from a video or series of still photographic images. Once the software analyzes the angle of light, properties of the face, and other traits through a series of competing algorithms, a user, through 3D models, can apply those traits and movements to other moving images as a convincing face swap and connect the composite to a new audio, lipsynched with the altered image.
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Vladimir Putin/Barack Obama
Jennifer Lawrence with Steve Buscimi’s face
The ability to use cutting edge technology to manipulate truth can be a dangerous weapon (political and/or personal). Highly convincing deepfakes can now be made by the general public through inexpensive apps. CGI used to take years of specialized training and seven figure budgets, but within the very near future, the average viewer will not be able to discern fact from fiction. Are we going to lose trust in images, voice and video? If everything can be fake, how will we agree on what is real?
How would you respond to a viral social media video of an authority figure stating that we just nuked another country. How can political figures in power respond quickly without investigating the validity of the post? How will this technology affect democracy?
ASMR: Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response; a feel-good, tingling sensation triggered by gentle stimuli, such as a light touch or soft sound which travels from the head (scalp) down the spine and out to the extremities.
Another trend in which technology and the moving image blend with and cross over what we know to be intimate is ASMR. Somehow, for many listener/viewers, the sound of soft speech, intimate whispers, demonstrations and explanations, especially in a foreign accent provide a feeling of tingly well-being and even sleepiness.
Is it sexual? Is it maternal? Is it like when your mom read you to sleep? Is it because we live in a boisterous, crass, anonymous world driven by fear so that having someone (even if only on screen) talk to us in a soft voice gives us a feeling of intimate connection and happiness?
We now use internet doctors to diagnose and treat our ailments without an in person visit. We are too busy to take the time to physically connect. These videos help us stop for a moment and provide us with an experience of 100% attention. It’s similar to the sensation you feel when your hair stylist washes your hair. It feels so good you want to dose off and forget your lists.
Perhaps this is a contemporary form of meditation. Possibly ASMR is a prescribable way to attain intimacy in our world in which we’d rather document fun than live it.
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