Expert behind Tom Cruise deepfakes says they “aren’t easily replicable”

Chris Ume, the visual effects expert behind a set of Tom Cruise deepfakes that went viral on TikTok last week, has said he wants people to know that his sophisticated videos aren’t easy to replicate.

Responding to fears prompted by his realistic videos about the use of this technology for misinformation, Ume told The Financial Times (FT) “it’s a fantasy that people can do this from their own computer.”

He said the hyperrealism of the viral videos involved months of preparation, along with Ume’s traditional visual effects and deepfake skills, high-end hardware, and Tom Cruise impersonator Miles Fisher.

According to the FT, the Belgian expert spent two months training in an AI programme with a significant number of images of the American actor.

Some experts, including the head of AI monitoring at the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI), have said that paying too much attention to fake videos could undermine the notion of truth when it comes to online content.

Specialists have said that for now, the AI technology powering deepfakes is not complex enough to trick people into believing they’re legitimate.

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