President Nixon Never Actually Gave This Apollo 11 Disaster Speech. MIT Brought it to Life to Illustrate Power of Deepfakes
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.
See Also: Respeecher
UDPATE: November 24, 2019 Internet Companies Prepare to Fight the ‘Deepfake’ Future (via The NY Times)
Filed under: News
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.