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Chinese deepfake app Zao goes viral, then raises privacy concerns

Chinese face-swapping app Zao rocketed to the top of Chinese app store charts within three days of release. The app allows users to drop a single image of their face, to replace people in popular movies, TV shows, and musical performances - all within seconds. The result is a downright very realistic deepfake video generated by machine learning. See this video of a Chinese user replacing himself as Leonardo DiCaprio: In case you haven't heard, #ZAO is a Chinese app which completely blew up since Friday. Best application of 'Deepfake'-style AI facial replacement I've ever seen. Here's an example of me as DiCaprio (generated in under 8 secs from that one photo in the thumbnail) ? pic.twitter.com/1RpnJJ3wgT — Allan Xia (@AllanXia) September 1, 2019 Or this of a user replacing himself as Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory: Chinese viral deepfakes app #ZAO Clip of myself as Sheldon generated in a few seconds from a single picture. pic.twitter.com/JI7MqWUDu6 — Matthew Brennan (@mbrennanchina) September 1, 2019 Zao was developed by Momo, the maker of a popular Chinese dating app. Users were uploading their Zao deepfakes on WeChat and other social media platforms in China. You just need one image, and why this matters: The app represents a radical advance in technology, as it can create convincing deepfake videos with just one image of the user, as opposed to the need to for hundreds of images for AI so that an app could create a convincing reproduction. As Gizmodo writes, users…

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