Concerns about Deepfake singing app
A new app that lets you use any photo on your phone to create personalized singing videos and is gaining in popularity. But not everyone thinks it’s harmless fun.
WOMBO.AI is a lip-sync app that utilizes artificial intelligence to automatically make a video of you singing along to a song–no performing necessary, all you do is upload a photo of yourself or a selfie.
“It’s well, beyond anything that we expected,” says WOMBO.AI CEO Ben Benkhin. “We’re at over 20 million downloads in just under three weeks and we’ve got a lot of exciting stuff planned, so I think it’s only going to continue to go up from here.”
After users have uploaded photos of celebrities and political figures–many have begun to wonder if this app that’s purely for entertainment could be used for more sinister purposes. One tech expert says while there isn’t a concern at the moment, apps like WOMBO.AI could serve as a precursor to a deep fake creator.
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“It’s not quite the sophisticated, deep, fake situation that you have with people who have more sophisticated video tools,” says Philip Michaels the managing editor for Tom’s Guide. “But there are tools out there like Ancestry.com, which had an app that could really bring your old photos to life and make it look like relatives, who had passed away, were moving in photos–that looked very realistic. And that’s the sort of thing where you go, ‘well, this is being used for a good purpose,’ but it’s something you have to watch out for.
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Meanwhile, cybersecurity experts caution that these apps serve as a collection point for biometric data such as facial recognition as well as personal information.
“Your phone number, your contacts–whatever you allow this app to do on your phone is going to do–so that’s free comes with some price,” says Ondrej Krehel, COO and founder of NYC-based cybersecurity and research firm, LIFARS. “You probably need to check some security features and see if this app now has access to all your photos. Can this app download your photos or contacts? This app is not special. Most of the apps are about collecting what you have. You are the asset, it’s your picture. These are your contacts. These are your friends. That’s the collection point.”
Benkhin adds that data associated with users is deleted every 24 hours.
“In our case, the videos do not look real. It’s kinda like WWE, when you watch WWE, you know it’s fake, but it’s still fun for you. We’re kind of operating in a similar psychological territory,” says Benkhin. “It’s just me and a few other programming guys who made this thing for fun and we hope that you have fun with it too.”
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