A new deepfake shows Nixon give a speech he prepared in case the moon landing failed

December 4th

MIT researchers have created a deepfake showing Richard Nixon tellgat the world that the moon landing ended in disaster.

The video was created as part of the In The Event of Disaster art installation, which opened at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam in November. Visitors are invited to sit in a 60s-era living room and watch the fake speech on an old television.

The recreation of the speech, which was prepared by Nixon's speech writer but never delivered, is meant to be an example of the powerful role disinformation has the potential to play in politics.

"We hope that our work will spark critical awareness among the public," said Francesca Panetta, the project director. "We want them to be alert to what is possible with today’s technology, to explore their own susceptibility, and to be ready to question what they see and hear as we enter a future fraught with challenges over the question of truth."

MIT News describes how the video was made:

To recreate this moving elegy that never happened, the team used deep learning techniques and the contributions of a voice actor to build the voice of Richard Nixon, producing a synthetic speech working with the Ukranian-based company Respeecher. They also worked with Israeli company Canny AI to use video dialogue replacement techniques to study and replicate the movement of Nixon’s mouth and lips, making it look as though he is reading this very speech from the Oval Office. The resulting video is highly believable, highlighting the possibilities of deepfake technology today.