Digital photo expert claims ‘horse has bolted’ on realistic deep fake editing
A digital photography expert boss claims "the horse has bolted" on deep fake photography and "nobody cares about authenticity" on social media.
Abobe vice president Marc Levoy spoke out as he revealed plans for the next generation of smart cameras.
He is putting together a "superstar" team to design a new app that will work across all smartphones and professional gear.
Its advanced AI is to recognise what it is looking at and edit out unwanted images before, during and after photos are taken.
Uses include removing buses in the background of the Eiffel Tower and window reflections, or making sure eyes are open in group photos.
And the Stanford University professor cited Star Wars special effects as he defended it from ethical concerns.
Prof Levoy, Vice President and Fellow at Adobe, insisted fears over deep fakes – where digitally created photos are passed off as real – would not stop the "technology being developed anyway".
He told the Vergecast podcast: "Science and engineering will move forward anyway and the ethical use of it has to be layered on top of that.
"There are very very few instances in which you should stop the science and engineering. I can think of a couple, like genetic engineering, but I have not seen that in my area.
"Deep fakes is a good example, it's important to remember that a lot of the technology that is now useful in deep fakes has been developed and continues to be developed for the special effects industry, for movies.
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"Would you prefer not to have a special effect industry and any of the creative movies that they've made? I think Star Wars has been a great addition to our culture.
"At that point you can't close the door after the horse has bolted at the barn. You can't say we are not going to allow those techniques to be used on the mobile platform or for everyday photography.
"The techniques were developed they will be used there what society needs to do is layer on top of that the proper controls and expectations so that they are not misused."
The academic, who was on the team that built the groundbreaking Google Pixel camera, added: "In some cases it doesn't matter whether it's authentic you're making something creative. In other cases like photojournalism it's very important whether it's authentic.
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"Those things are important, they'll get layered on top of the technology, the technology will be developed anyway.
"May be some kind of trace of authenticity is important.
"Social media nobody cares about authenticity, they just care is that really what this teenager looks like or not."
He plans to next year hire "‘PhD superstars… to build the next generation of amazing computational photography".
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