If you’re not cool deepfake it
Trying to keep up with what the next cool trend on Social Media is can be a full time job. It switches from day to day and, seemingly, if you are over the age of 16 you are always going to be chasing your tail.
However, there are some similarities of what hits the cool factor. High up on that is music. The ability to use a wide catalogue of modern music on TikTok, for instance, is a big part of what drives engagement there and it’s why that platform is increasingly becoming the choice of the teenage crowd.
Apps that let you swap things are also typically a big hit. Want to know what your head would look like on a celebrity’s body? Well, you can do that on TikTok. And, of late, you can now hear what your lyrics would sound like if famous musicians — both dead and alive — were to perform them.
With an app called uberduck you can do just that. Rappers are particularly popular, with TikTok videos of of Tupac, Notorious B.I.G, Snoop Dogg, Juice WLRD, Eminem and more popping up on the platform regularly. They sound pretty good too. The AI is able to match each artist’s unique flow and sound to make your words seem like their own.
Fun, right? For sure, and it’s going to likely be pretty popular for a while. For TikTok that’s just another tool to keep users on the site.
You might ask what the use is, however. If it’s just for laughs, why should you care? The answer to that is that it’s a great example of deepfake technology. Harmless in this case, but also scary in that it is difficult to distinguish the AI voice from the actual artist.
Deepfake is a technology that is concerning a lot of people right now. It’s particularly worrisome in the political space, where it’s possible to create videos that look and sound exactly like a real person. You can literally put words in someone’s mouth and, frankly, that’s concerning in a time when it’s already difficult to determine reality from propaganda.
However, advocates argue that there is real value in the technology that goes beyond the frivolous and nebulous.
One possible use that you can directly tie to what uberduck is would be the medical use of similar AI to recreate the voice of loved ones that might have lost it otherwise. Imagine if, when he was alive, we had the ability to give Stephen Hawking a fuller voice with inflection and diction that matched what he had before it was taken from him by ALS? Obviously, he made due, but he very likely could have had an even greater impact teaching if he could have communicated better.
As we are seeing with uberduck, it can also give voice to artists that have passed away. If you stumbled on a notebook of lyrics from Notorious B.I.G you could potentially use the technology to create a new album.
Historical figures could be emulated to teach history in a much more engaging fashion.
The possible applications are only limited by your imagination.
And, while we wait for those applications to evolve, we can always head over to TikTok and see what our lyrics would sound like if performed by artists far more talented than us.