Clever look to spot liars

Central Station | 13 Apr 2018

In an era replete with fake news stories, you might expect video evidence to provide a clearer picture of the truth.

You'd be wrong, said Google engineer Supasorn Suwajanakorn, who has developed a tool that, fed with the right input, can create a realistic fake video that mimics the way a person talks by observing footage of his mouth and teeth to create the perfect lip-sync.

Like any technology, it has great potential for both good and mischief.

Suwajanakorn is therefore also working with the AI Foundation on a Reality Defender app that will run automatically in web browsers to spot and flag fake pictures or videos.

"I let a computer watch 14 hours of pure Obama video, and synthesized him talking," Suwajanakorn said.

Such technology could be used to create virtual versions of those who have died: grandparents could be asked for advice; actors returned to the screen; great teachers give lessons, or authors read their works aloud.

But he worries, for example, that war could be triggered by a bogus video of a world leader announcing a nuclear strike.So Reality Defender will scan for manipulated pictures or video and allow users to raise an alarm.

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