Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. Scientists at MIT have digitally manipulated video and audio to create a creepy deepfake of President Nixon "delivering" a speech that would have been used in the event of an Apollo 11 disaster. Written in 1969, the contingency speech was to be used if NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were unable to return from the moon. The video is part of a project entitled "In Event of Moon Disaster" that aims to highlight the dangers of deepfakes, which use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to create false, but realistic-looking clips.
While deepfakes have now been around for a number of years, deepfake casting and acting are relatively new. Early deepfake technologies weren't very good, used primarily in dark corners of the internet to swap celebrities into porn videos without their consent. But as deepfakes have grown increasingly realistic, more and more artists and filmmakers have begun using them in broadcast-quality productions and TV ads. This means hiring real actors for one aspect of the performance or another. Some jobs require an actor to provide "base" footage; others need a voice.
It's a lot harder to recognize fake videos than you can imagine, including this President Richard ... [ ] Nixon deepfake about Apollo 11. Fifty-one years ago this week, the first moon landing took place. Two astronauts from Apollo 11 walked around on the lunar surface for a couple of hours, changing space exploration forever. Most people around the world accept this statement as truth, but there has always been an underbelly of society who (wrongly) think the moon landing in 1969 never happened. A new project shows the danger of how easy it is to spread fake news, through the power of a video related to the first moon landing.
The moon landing is an iconic moment in human history but it's easy to forget 51 years later how risky it was. In 1969, there was a very real chance the Apollo 11 mission could have gone horribly wrong and over 600 million people could have witnessed it unfold on their television sets. If that did happen, the broadcasts would have switched to a solemn US President Richard Nixon, who would have addressed the nation with a speech titled "In Event of Moon Disaster". As far as political speeches go, it's a moving oration. "Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace," it begins.
Can you recognize a digitally manipulated video when you see one? It's harder than most people realize. As the technology to produce realistic "deepfakes" becomes more easily available, distinguishing fact from fiction will only get more challenging. A new digital storytelling project from MIT's Center for Advanced Virtuality aims to educate the public about the world of deepfakes with "In Event of Moon Disaster." This provocative website showcases a "complete" deepfake (manipulated audio and video) of U.S. President Richard M. Nixon delivering the real contingency speech written in 1969 for a scenario in which the Apollo 11 crew were unable to return from the moon.