Complex Made Simple

Deepfakes: From deception comes massive business opportunities

Deepfakes are becoming an entrepreneur’s best friend with positive business implications in various sector applications

Deepfakes was used for fraud, such as mimicking a chief executive’s voice to request the transfer of a large sum of money. Deepfake scams are projected to exceed $250 million in 2020 Media companies are ready to monetize on the “benign” side of the controversial tech

Fakes. We describe people who are untrustworthy and dishonest as “fakes”. On a more positive note, ball fakes are a way to improve your chances of scoring on a basketball court or soccer pitch.

Deepfakes in media have had their share of negative publicity for trickery that more often than not has led to legal trouble, embarrassment, misinformation campaigns and reputations threatened with ruin.  

Academic research published in 1997 shows the technology in a premature form in the “Video Rewrite Program,” which involved modifying video footage of a speaking subject to depict them mouthing words to a different audio track. 

But, deepfakes are becoming an entrepreneur’s best friend with positive business implications in various sector applications.

Let’s start with a coin toss.

 Read: 7 Ways to Rank High in a Local Website Search

Deepfakes- A bad rap      

According to CBInsights, Deepfakes have mostly been talked about as a technology used for trolling or deception.  

Deepfakes are controversial, having already made their way into political videos where leaders are shown proclaiming things they actually never said. 

A form of synthetic media using artificial intelligence to manipulate a person’s image into a doctored photo or video, deepfakes appear to present individuals as saying or doing things they didn’t actually do. 

in 2019, an altered video made it appear House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was slurring her words during public remarks. Another clip showed Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg appearing to say the app’s purpose is merely to “manipulate” users or showing him announcing he is deleting Facebook.

It is used for fraud, such as mimicking a chief executive’s voice to request the transfer of a large sum of money.

The costs financial institutions will face incurred from deepfake scams are projected to exceed $250 million in 2020, according to data from Forrester Research.  

Gartner projects worldwide cybersecurity spending to touch $133.7 billion by 2022 and will include attempts at identifying and combating deepfakes.

Read: Q & A: Surkus allows almost anyone to become an influencer and earn from engagement

Opportunity knocks for real

According to CBInsights 2020 AI Trends report, deepfakes could “resurrect celebrities, shake up retail, and revolutionize influencer marketing.” 

Deepfakes are hyper-realistic AI-generated images and videos and Media companies are ready to monetize the “benign” side of the controversial tech, starting with the “fun and goofy” side of it. 

At the end of December 2019, Snapchat acquired AI Factory, a Ukraine-based startup developing computer vision products, for $166 million. Snap had previously worked with AI Factory to power Cameos, a feature that enables users to insert selfies into GIFs to create animated deepfakes. 

Bytedance-owned TikTok is working on a similar feature. Samsung published a paper on using neural nets to create realistic “talking heads.”  

Hollywood is heading towards “digitally resurrecting” actors from the ’50s and ’60s in films.  The use of deepfake tech in the TV and film industries could lead to proliferation in sequels, spin-offs, and cultural adaptations of existing content. In other fields, such as casting and modeling, AI-generated faces could stunt demand for human influencers and models.

On the retail front, deepfakes will let brands hyper-personalize visual marketing for consumers. Startup Superpersonal, for instance, swaps out users’ faces in short video clips for virtual try-ons.

Deepfakes are also making a dent in influencer marketing. Startup Synthesia used deepfake tech to make David Becham speak in 9 different languages in a campaign video for the NGO Malaria Must Die. The startup has since raised $3 million. 

Read: Watch out! Deepfake could make you your own worst enemy

Here are four categories showing clear business opportunities to take advantage of: 

1. Ventriloquism 2.0

Voice swapping can change a person’s voice or make it imitate someone else’s. It can be manipulated to sound younger or older, male or female, and with different dialects or accents. Possible uses include an audio-book narrator speaking in the voices of different characters, or using a famous person as a narrator without them having to go to the trouble of reading out the entire story.

2. Giving voices back

It has been possible for many years to make a computer speak by typing text into an application. Now the deepfake technology exists to do this with a particular person’s voice even where they haven’t previously recorded the words in question. This is becoming a life-changing technology for people who have lost the ability to speak intelligibly. 

3. Game on

Video full-body puppetry can transpose movement from one person’s body to that of another. Possible uses include more immersive video games in which players can insert themselves into the action, with their own gait and movement characteristics  

4. Subtitles RIP

It will soon be possible to make cost-effective, high-quality translations of movies, TV shows and other videos. A trained algorithm would imitate the original actor’s voice but in a different language, with the lip movement in sync with the new words.