If you told someone 20 years ago that you could make it look like the president was reading an offensive joke with near 100 percent accuracy, you’d be laughed out of the room. Now, that very technology has reached consumer-grade levels, allowing anyone with a modicum computer literacy and time to create what’s known as a deepfake.
The term, a portmanteau of “deep learning” and “fake,” refers to deceptively realistic videos created with digital imaging technology powered by machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence. In simple terms, this involves feeding a bot a trove of videos, photos and audio clips in order to map a convincing digital likeness of a subject over another person’s face.
While deepfake technology has mostly been used for films at a professional level, and sexually explicit content at the consumer level, memers are now starting to realize the full potential of such software and apps for comedic purpose. We’re currently witnessing the rise of deepfake memes, and this is just the beginning.
The History of Deepfake Memes
Fakery has always been a part of meme culture. Faking tweets and social media posts is a common avenue for memers, and one they perfected quickly. It used to be that you needed to learn Photoshop to do this successfully, but now countless, simpler computer programs and apps can achieve the same results. Deepfaking looks to take this to the next level by allowing memers to create videos so authentically fake – from voice to appearance – that nobody knows whether they’re watching something real or not.
Baka Mitai facemorphs have been an explosive form of synthetic media bearing many similarities to deepfakes. The memes use facemorphing applications to make any subject appear to sing along to the song “Baka Mitai,” popularized in Yakuza 0. The first one made it appear as though YandereDev was singing to the song, and from there, the roster has only expanded.
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