The Morning After: Deepfakes and cheerleaders


The world of deepfakes is both wonderful and worrying. Apps like Reface can do most of the hard work for you, swapping your face with whatever’s big in pop culture and creating low-fi but functional video clips or gifs. At the other end, you have high-level deepfakes that combine an impersonator with a digital-effects artist for the best clips of Tom Cruise that aren’t Tom Cruise. Or, far more seriously, people can make world leaders seem to say things that they didn’t, creating fake news fallout.

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VFXChris Ume, YouTube

Somewhere in the middle, there are people already using them for nefarious means and personal gain. In a bid to kick rivals off her daughter’s cheerleading squad, a woman in Pennsylvania sent coaches AI-altered photos and videos of some teens, showing them drinking, smoking or naked. She was arrested, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Last year, social networks like Facebook, TikTok and Twitter announced they have banned deepfakes in an attempt to reduce their spread. However, the aforementioned faux Cruise blew up on TikTok before it was taken down.

— Mat Smith

It’s also bringing the COVID-19 Information Center to Instagram.

Facebook

Facebook

Facebook is launching a tool that will show “when and where you can get vaccinated” for COVID-19 and even provide a link to help you make an appointment. The aim is “to help bring 50 million people a step closer to getting COVID-19 vaccines,” according to a post from CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook partnered with Boston Children’s Hospital, which runs the VaccineFinder.org website, to make the tool. It’ll be available in the COVID-19 Information Center starting today and will offer the hours of operation, contact info and links to make an appointment. It will be supported in 71 different languages and may even show up inside Instagram. Continue reading.

The Brazilian sports superstar should arrive March 16th.

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Fortnite and soccer (aka football) are no strangers to each other, and Epic Games has just teased that Brazilian sports star Neymar might make an appearance in Fortnite on March 16th — can’t wait to see the match-ups against Ripley. The timing isn’t great: Neymar’s been sidelined due to injuries for most of the past few months. Fortnite might be Neymar’s only competitive appearance for a spell. Continue reading.

It’ll be the first BMW brand to make the leap.

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German newspaper Der Spiegel reports that Mini will go EV-only by 2030, with its last new combustion engine car arriving in 2025. If accurate, this would make Mini the first BMW badge to drop gas. It’s got some work to do. Currently, the Cooper SE (aka Mini Electric) is its only pure EV, with an all-electric version of the Countryman reportedly entering production in 2023. Continue reading.

It’s also starting a program to help creators use the audio chat app.

Clubhouse will no longer require access to your phone contacts to invite people to the platform — you only have to add their phone number directly. While that’s not as ideal as avoiding phone numbers altogether, it addresses complaints that Clubhouse was asking for unnecessary info. Company chief Paul Davidson has also said you can ask the company to delete any contacts you’ve already uploaded and that a tool is in the works to let you delete contacts yourself. The audio-only network is also introducing a Creator First accelerator program, which gives producers the resources to bring their projects to fruition. It’s starting very small, though. Only 20 people will be eligible at first for the initiative. Continue reading.

And that’s not all

Google will face lawsuit over Incognito mode tracking

Several Amazon Echo devices are on sale for today only

FAA’s final drone rules start taking effect April 21st