Face off: Deepfakes, celebrity ‘appearances’ and the law


Sarah Speight

Face off: Deepfakes, celebrity ‘appearances’ and the law

MDV Edwards / Shutterstock.com

A British TV show that pits deepfaked celebrities as fictional ‘neighbours’ shows how far the tech has developed—but can unauthorised fakes be stopped, asks Sarah Speight.

Technology may have advanced somewhat since the late Steve McQueen ‘appeared’ posthumously in a Ford Puma ad in 2004, his face having been digitally superimposed onto the body of another actor.

Fast forward to 2021, and Bruce Willis’ deepfake ‘appearance’ in a Russian telecoms advert in October—after his retirement—is a more sophisticated transposition. Instead of superimposing old footage (in McQueen’s case, from the film Bullitt), it uses artificial intelligence (AI) to create an entirely new work from Willis’ likeness.

The use of AI has exploded in recent years, with uses ranging from automated audiobooks and voice assistants to deepfake videos and text-to-speech tools.

copyright, deepfake, AI, tech, ITV