Deepfake apps

Category : Technology/Innovations

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. blur / blɜr / (v.) – to make the difference between two things unclear or difficult to determine

    The movie blurs the line between reality and fantasy.

  2. grin / grɪn / (v.) – to smile broadly because one is entertained, pleased, etc.

    Look at Dan grinning! What made him so happy?

  3. hit or miss / hɪt ɔr mɪs / (adj.) – sometimes successful and sometimes not

    Her new TV show is hit or miss. Some episodes are good, but others are kind of boring.

  4. trace / treɪs / (v.) – to find the cause, beginning, or origin of something

    The scientists created a DNA testing program that allows people to trace their ancestors.

  5. creepy / ˈkri pi / (adj.) – causing fear or nervousness

    I couldn’t sleep at all last night because I watched a creepy movie before bed.


Read the text below.

Around 2018, we all heard about deepfakes and how the face-swapping technology was blurring the lines of reality. But deepfakes can also be fun. Dozens of apps in your app store promise to put your face onto an animated GIF or video. Here are some of the best: Reface, Wombo and MyHeritage.

Reface was released in February last year and has been wildly popular. The app lets you easily swap your face into videos and GIFs. Using it is as easy as taking a selfie. The app recognizes facial expressions, so even if you’re grinning, it will guess what your neutral face looks like.

Then you choose a short video or GIF. Wait a few seconds, and you’ll see your face on SpiderMan, Bruce Lee or Kate Winslet in that scene from Titanic — Reface has a library of hundreds of short clips. The end result can be hit or miss — a lot depends on your face shape — but the hits are surprisingly lifelike.

Wombo does a similar thing, but for short clips from a small selection of pop songs. Somehow, it’s more addictive — maybe because the songs are so catchy.

Deepfake apps aren’t just about fun. MyHeritage is a service that helps people trace their family tree. Its app has a “Deep Nostalgia” feature that animates family photos using deepfake technology. Upload a photo of a grandparent and watch them come to life. Its website has examples of famous people, including Mark Twain and Florence Nightingale. As you watch, the photo subject turns their head and looks off-camera.

The videos made by the apps can seem a little creepy, but they show that deepfake tech can be fun. Reface, Wombo and MyHeritage are all available for iPhones and Android phones. (T)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Deepfake app results can be hit or miss. Do you think you can always tell the difference between a deepfake video and a real video? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Critics of deepfake technology say that it can be used to make it seem like people did or said things that they didn’t really do or say. Do you think this technology is dangerous? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Deepfake apps have been wildly popular. Why do you think people like them so much? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • With deepfake apps, you can swap your face on hundreds of short clips. What would you like to swap your face on (ex. a scene from Titanic, a historical video)? Why? Discuss.
  • The “Deep Nostalgia” feature animates family photos and can make them “come to life.” Would you consider trying it on a photo of a family member? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Many people have also used the “Deep Nostalgia” feature on photos of historical figures such as Mark Twain and Florence Nightingale. What historical figure would you like to see “come to life” (ex. Abraham Lincoln, Sakamoto Ryoma)? Why? Discuss.
Category : Technology/Innovations