In December, a horny trend began hatching on Reddit thanks to one user’s ability to use machine learning algorithms to create videos with celebrities’ faces superimposed onto porn stars’ bodies. Naturally, the internet has taken it a step further — as it tends to do — and superimposed Nic Cage into a bunch of movies that he’s not in.
In late 2017, Motherboard reported on the uncanny valley porno originating from a redditor by the name of Deepfakes. Since then, the term Deepfakes has transformed into a genre for describing this style of video, and it’s now being used to insert Nic Cage’s face into a shocking number of films; from Louis Lane in Superman to Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
The trend has spawned its own subreddit, that includes a link on how to create deepfakes yourself, using a desktop app called Fakeapp that runs an algorithm for creating videos.
The videos don’t really fool anyone, but that’s not the point. In the case of Cage, their pure fun. When it comes to porn, however, this kind of deep learning technology is only getting more and more sophisticated, and from that standpoint, we might want to be worried.
The open-source nature of these machine learning tools makes it easy to imagine a near future where all-too-real looking deepfakes could merit lawsuits over not having consent to use a person’s likeness. There’s already revenge porn that superimposes women’s faces in still, x-rated photos, what’s to inhibit someone with the tools from transitioning that idea to video?
At time of writing, the Deepfakes subreddit had over 56,000 subscribers. In a follow-up article, Motherboard reached the creator of Fakeapp, who goes by DeepFakeApp. They said:
“I think the current version of the app is a good start, but I hope to streamline it even more in the coming days and weeks. Eventually, I want to improve it to the point where prospective users can simply select a video on their computer, download a neural network correlated to a certain face from a publicly available library, and swap the video with a different face with the press of one button.”
Suddenly, Nicolas Cage as Loki in Thor seems a lot more foreboding.