What about facial distortion. No, not silly faces or angry faces posted on Instagram or Facebook. I’m talking about an app that is so good it can take your photo and make you younger, older, and even swap gender. Danger? Yes.
A month or so ago I downloaded FaceApp from the iPhone App Store. As with a growing number of such apps, FaceApp had the ability to take a photo and make visible changes. Style, hair, smile, age (old or young), dress up Hollywood style, and even change gender. How good is FaceApp?
Out of almost 750,000 reviews, the average is 4.8 stars on the App Store. Look what it can do:
Yes, your mileage may vary, but FaceApp is exactly that good at turning a standard portrait into a superbly crafted photoshoot worthy photo, or add 20 years to the face (or, make it younger), and even swap out the gender.
Fortunately, you can try FaceApp for free. Unfortunately, FaceApp has fallen into the monthly-to-annual subscription craze that’s dominating the App Store these days.
That doesn’t matter.
The bigger issue is the coming danger in facial distortions; also referred to as Deepfake. With Apple’s growing interest in AR (augmented reality) and AI (artificial intelligence), it won’t be long before there are video versions of FaceApp, complete with fake voices that resemble the original.
Now, FaceApp is generating plenty of noise at high levels these days and rightly so. The app needs access to Photos on your iPhone and who knows where the photos go that you change, customize, distort, or modify. Russia? Yep.
It doesn’t matter. Such photos already grace Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and other social media because the image results are that good. That kind of public sharing is to be expected.
Why are politicians worried about the likes of FaceApp? Because elected officials tend to worry about what is less important than what is more important. Whether your photos go to Russia or not (the popular TikTok is a Chinese app) doesn’t matter because Facebook and Instagram are far more prolific and most of the photos users upload are public anyway.
None of that changes the danger of facial distortion which soon will become Deepfakes. How long will it be before you fire up Facebook on your iPhone or Mac and see and hear President Trump telling people how much effort it took to bamboozle the American voters.
It could happen. It will happen.