An impressive deepfake video of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk in 'Star Trek' shows how far the technology has come

Jeff Bezos Star Trek deepfake

YouTube/TheFakening

Deepfaked alien Jeff Bezos.

  • A new deepfake video puts Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Tesla CEO Elon Musk into an episode of "Star Trek."
  • Deepfake technology works by training an algorithm on images of a person's face then transplanting their face onto footage of someone else.
  • Bezos is a "Star Trek" fan, and even had a cameo in 2016's "Star Trek: Beyond."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Another amazingly convincing deepfake has hit the internet.

Uploaded by deepfake YouTube account The Fakening on Wednesday, this particular deepfake transposes the faces of tech billionaires Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk onto a scene from the original "Star Trek" series. Musk's face is transposed onto that of the human Captain Pike, while Bezos is transformed into a member of the bulbous-headed alien race the Talosians.

Deepfake technology works by training an algorithm on lots of images or videos of someone's face, then using software to map that face onto a piece of footage of someone else.

You can watch the video below:

 

Victor Riparbelli, cofounder and CEO of British deepfake startup Synthesia, said the video was a "great example" of deepfake technology.

"I think this is a great example of the current state of the art in highly realistic face-swapping. Results like these still require lots of custom work and artistry along with significant expense on compute power (I'd estimate $100-300) but it's in the hands of passionate individuals, not companies," Riparbelli told Business Insider.

This isn't the first time Jeff Bezos has appeared as this particular alien. In an episode of "South Park" from 2018 Bezos was depicted as a Talosian. Bezos is himself a "Star Trek" fan, and even had a cameo in the 2016 film "Star Trek: Beyond." Elon Musk is not as a overt a fan like Bezos, but has overlapped with the show as he was name dropped in "Star Trek: Discovery" by a character listing revolutionary inventors like the Wright brothers.

Although this video is unmistakably a parody, the proficiency of deepfake technology has become a worry for companies like Facebook and Twitter trying to curb the spread of misinformation on their platforms. Both have stopped short of banning deepfakes outright, but have recently introduced policies around manipulated media. Facebook specifically allows satirical deepfakes to remain on its platform.

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