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Watch this impressionist’s brilliant and terrifying deepfake video

Remember that bit in the 1995 camp action classic The Rock, where Nic Cage’s Dr. Stanley Goodspeed says VX gas ‘was one of those things we wish we could disinvent’?

Well. the same applies for the deepfake VFX technology that makes it possible to create lifelike faked videos depicting pretty much anyone doing and saying things they did not.

As if to illustrate the point, impressionist and actor Jim Meskimen teamed-up with the YouTube deepfake artist Sham00k to depict 20 well-known celebrities in just under two-and-a-half minutes. It’s a highly alarming and highly entertaining look at the potential of the deepfake tech.

As Miskimen reads his poem Pity the Poor Impressionist his facial features convincingly morph into those of John Malkovich, Colin Firth, Robert De Niro, Tommy Lee Jones, Nick Offerman, George Clooney, Christopher Walken, Anthony Hopkins, Dr. Phil, Nicholas Cage, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Morgan Freeman, Bryan Cranston, Christoph Waltz, Joe Pesci, Jack Nicholson, George W. Bush, Ian McKellen, Ron Howard and Robin Williams.

You can see the clip (via CNET) below:

Shamook says the video took 250 hours of work in total, using 1,200 hours of footage using 300,000 images. Here’s the video the artist posted to show how it was all done.

We’ve already seen deepfakes disavowed as a means of creating fake celebrity porn by online portals like Reddit, as well as actors unions and even politicians. While there’s been less pronounced publication of deepfake porn since the initial outcry, there’s perhaps greater ongoing concerns about the sinister potential of the tech, which is sure to get better and better. Given the carnage already being caused by the fake news epidemic, the potential misuse of the deepfake technology is clear to all.

Although it’s no less concerning, Jordan Peele teamed up with Buzzfeed last year to make it appear as if Barack Obama called Donald Trump a “a total and complete dipshit.” That was kind of amusing.

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