Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Intelligence Community, Meet The Future... (Image Metrics)

I just got wind of this video from a friend of mine (Thanks, John and Flint!). Watch it all the way through and see if you can spot the threats and the opportunities. Once you are done, highlight the space between the [ ] below to get the answer (I typed it using white lettering so I wouldn't spoil the surprise. Highlight the white space between the [ ]and the answers magically appear as white lettering on a black background. Steganography on the cheap, as it were...).



[Emily, the girl in the video, is fake. She was generated entirely using computer graphics software. Animation of this quality is coming to your video games next year. There are so many new threats and opportunities generated by this kind of technology that I am not sure where to begin. Post your thoughts to the comments...]

5 comments:

Red One said...

I had a suspicion that we were going to find out that she was an example of the process about which she was speaking but when I read your description of her being an animation in really sank in.

It is frightening to me to think that any video IM chat from a "company" advertised as "such and such" could be so convincing as to become a phising operation for otherwise protected information.

I also envision a temporary mistrust of possible video human engineering which is apt to happen since human engineers don't usually want to be identified by face. Here, the "person" looks exactly like a normal human being. The person being engineered will either be more susceptible to giving out some "trivial" piece of info or else will be warned not to trust any "conference video lines" into the secure structure (if video is used to ID persons allowed into a conference line).

Also, bio-sensors may become susceptible to manipulation using virtual imagery (less likely as I think about this one).

Fascinating and scary!!!

Yours,
John Gagnon

Kristan J. Wheaton said...

From Lloyd (he asked me to post as he does not have access to the comments from where he is):

"Agree with John Gagnon. An earlier movie version of this is Schwartzneggars Mars movie where his artificial head construct decomposes. The ability to join credibile voice and facial imitations means a new and dangerous media era, which extends to the "news". What is fact, what is manufactured? What portion is manufactured? Goes way beyond the green screen, and is approaching George Lucas' desire to make movies without needing human actors. The potential improvements to virtual environment avatars is also an area of interest. Just how far can the boundary between reality and the virtual be erased? As for educational, that is an area that needs some thought first.
Lloyd Hoffman"

Thanks, Lloyd

Steve Burr said...

This type of technology will require news broadcasters, scholars, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals to search for more multiple sources to confirm a video's validity as well as testing the source video. Another danger will be the insertion of false statements in a real video; a partial lie. Technology can verify a false or partial video but not before a massive rumor spreads quickly to a target audience. It is difficult to kill some rumors and there is always linger doubt.

From an artistic point of view, I do not agree with George Lucas. I think you will always have actors since people will connect with live actors versus animated persons no matter how real. It is still cheaper and faster to have a good actor in digital shots. Technology just expands the limits of what is possible. You can have digital actors for huge crowds and for difficult / dangerous scenes. It is like the analogy of the horse and cars; people predicted that the cars would replace horses entirely for transportation. Cars did replace horses but not entirely and horse remains an important niche tool in all countries. The real question is the degree this technology will replace live actors.

jeffcarr said...

Astounding. I'd like to read how video forensics would/could determine its authenticity.

Josh said...

Interesting. The obvious threat--that we will be unsure of the reality of what we are seeing/hearing in our media--has been present since the printing press was invented and has grown with each new form of media (newspaper, tv, Internet). This seems to me like another step down a road we've been on for quite some time--people will adapt their approach to information, to varying degrees. (We may see a virtual Osama bin Laden delivering video messages from the Hindu Kush for the next 500 years.)