May 18, 2022

President Nixon Never Actually Gave This Apollo 11 Disaster Speech. MIT Brought it to Life to Illustrate Power of Deepfakes

From WBUR/Boston:

Imagine a past in which the crew of Apollo 11 landed on the moon in 1969 — but then became stranded there, leading then-President Nixon to give a speech memorializing the astronauts.

A new MIT film installation uses that exact premise to shed light on so-called deepfake videos and how they are used to spread misinformation.


MIT’s Center for Advanced Virtuality created a video of Nixon giving a speech that was actually written for him — but that he never ended up delivering.


So how did MIT create a 50-year-old video of something that never happened?

[Film co-director Francesca] Panetta says she and co-director Halsey Burgund selected actor Lewis D. Wheeler to voice three hours worth of recordings from Nixon. The goal was not to impersonate Nixon, but instead to get characteristics like his intonation and cadence correct, she says. After those recordings were done, they were given to Respeecher, a company that focuses on synthetic voice-over work. Respeecher then used clips of those recordings to create a synthetic version of Nixon’s voice.

Learn MORE, Read the Complete Article (approx. 780 words)

See Also: Respeecher

UDPATE: November 24, 2019 Internet Companies Prepare to Fight the ‘Deepfake’ Future (via The NY Times)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.