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Get Me Bodied

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As research earlier this year around dance videos at UC Berkeley demonstrated,  Deepfakes aren’t just for faces anymore. More recent computer vision and machine learning approaches from Germany’s Heidelberg University can map not only a person’s face, but also their body, onto an existing video. The two-minute explanation on YouTube uses baseball and pull-ups as examples. It still looks fairly fake--or “raw and experimental,” as researcher Károly Zsolnai-Fehér, describes it--but what’s new about this latest iteration of the full-body deepfake is that it it’s truly full-body. That is, it can simulate and superimpose even the occluded parts someone’s body in 360 degrees, albeit not that convincingly (yet), even if the original person’s side or back are on the original source video. Obviously, this type of technology will one day make producing movies and video games easier, but, sadly, also risks powering more nefarious misinformation purposes.

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