Queen Elizabeth II is set to deliver her traditional message on the BBC and ITV on Christmas day, but a deepfake will be sending an alternate speech on Channel 4. The news station said this is being done to give a “stark warning” about fake news in the digital age. In this message, she’ll discuss the decision of Duke and Duchess of Sussex leaving the UK as well as the Duke of York’s decision to step down from royal duties earlier this year. Read more for the video and additional information.
The previews you see here won’t show everything, as the full message, voiced by the actor Debra Stephenson, can also be seen performing a TikTok dance routine. Deepfakes utilize powerful techniques from machine learning and artificial intelligence to manipulate or generate visual and audio content with a high potential to deceive. They’re mainly based on deep learning and involve training generative neural network architectures, like autoencoders or generative adversarial networks (GANs).
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— Channel 4 (@Channel4) December 23, 2020
There have been countless imitations of the Queen. This isn’t a particularly good one. The voice sounds what it is – a rather poor attempt to impersonate her. What makes it troubling is the use of video technology to attempt to sync her lips to the words being spoken,” said BBC’s royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell.