The Fakening, a YouTube channel specializing in deepfake videos, uploaded a new video this week featuring a couple of our favorite billionaires to mock. Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos were dropped into the pilot of the original Star Trek, and the results are pretty uncanny. Bezos blends a bit more easily into his role as a Talosian alien while something feels just slightly off with Musk as Captain Christopher Pike.
It’s all fun and games — "I think this is a great example of the current state of the art in highly realistic face-swapping," Victor Riparbelli, the cofounder and CEO of the British deepfake startup Synthesia, told Business Insider. "Results like these still require lots of custom work and artistry along with significant expense on compute power (I'd estimate $100-300) but it's in the hands of passionate individuals, not companies."
Getting some light-hearted deepfakes every once in a while can take the edge off the spiraling hellscape of misinformation. We’re even starting to see manipulated videos used in positive ways for political campaigns. The range of how we apply these deepfakes, however, has led to some disparate policies from online gatekeepers like Twitter and Facebook.