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A new deepfake combining comedian Bill Hader and action star Arnold Schwarzenegger is going viral online. The video, produced by a deepfake creator known as Ctrl Shift Face, has already been viewed more than 300,000 times on YouTube alone.
The clip shows Hader during a 2014 interview with late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien doing his best impression of the former California governor. But this time, Hader’s impression is accompanied by Schwarzenegger’s actual face.
The deepfake was developed with a free and open-source tool known as DeepFaceLab, which uses artificial intelligence to map one individual’s face onto the body of another’s.
Speaking with the Daily Dot, Ctrl Shift Face explained that he came up with the concept while attempting to bring something fresh to the deepfake community.
“I’m a fan of Bill Hader. I was annoyed that most [safe for work] deepfakes out there were either superhero movies, which I hate, or always Trump, Nicolas Cage or other random celebrities,” Ctrl Shift Face said. “So I came up with an idea of impression deepfakes.”
The mashup garnered widespread attention on Reddit this week, receiving more than 20,000 upvotes in the r/videos subreddit. Reddit users were particularly amazed by Hader’s seamless transitions from himself to The Terminator star.
“It’s so subtle, you see it happening but also you don’t,” Reddit user satchelsofgold wrote. “I recommend watching this video in full HD to see how good this deepfake actually is. The future is scary, man.”
Multiple users even claimed to be unaware that the video was a deepfake while watching it for the first time.
“Not gonna lie. I didn’t see the part of the title that said deep fake and I was like ‘Wow, Bill Hader’s imitation is so good even his facial features contort to look like Schwarzenegger,’ at least initially until I realized there was something else going on,” Reddit user balanceofpower said.
Ctrl Shift Face says such videos take between roughly 48 to 72 hours to make. As for the impressive transitions, Ctrl Shift Face described them as “pretty simple” and said his latest deepfake showing actor Edward Norton’s face on Brad Pitt’s body in the movie Fight Club was a much more difficult task due to the lack of lighting.
Both videos show just how far the technology has come since it first emerged online in 2017. While the first AI-produced videos were clearly of poor quality, the latest iterations, such as the now-infamous Jennifer Buscemi deepfake, have become increasingly realistic.
The technology has spurred concern among U.S. government officials who feel deepfakes could be used to disrupt elections, although several disinformation experts have dismissed the notion. Numerous states across the country have also introduced legislation aiming to criminalize the malicious use of deepfake videos.
Although emphasis has been placed on the technology’s ability to be misused, such techniques are already being implemented for legitimate purposes. A campaign to end malaria, for example, recently used deepfake technology to give soccer star David Beckham the ability to speak in nine different languages.
Mikael Thalen is a tech and security reporter based in Seattle, covering social media, data breaches, hackers, and more.