MIT Releases Deepfake video of Nixon Announcing NASA Apollo 11 Disaster


Per a recent Article via Bonnie Burton, MIT and Mozilla embarked on an initiative to help us better understand the disturbing power of deepfake videos in a new project called “In Event of Moon Disaster.” The resulting video below combines actual footage from the Apollo 11 mission with the delivery of a speech that Richard Nixon was prepared to deliver if the mission failed. The disturbingly real video used artificial intelligence to make Nixon’s voice and facial movements convincing. The contingency speech (which can be found in National Archives) was read aloud by an actor.

Deepfake videos are a threat to the trust that forms the foundation of society. In our very polarized world, where we tend to congregate in echo chambers that support our beliefs, this level of misinformation is dangerous. Here is an abstract of the video. The Nixon speech starts at the 4:40 mark.

ABSTRACT

In July 1969, much of the world celebrated the “giant leap for mankind” that the successful moon landing constituted. In 2020, nothing is quite so straightforward. In Event of Moon Disaster illustrates the possibilities of deepfake technologies by reimagining this seminal event.

What if the Apollo 11 mission had gone wrong and the astronauts had not been able to return home? A contingency speech for this possibility was prepared, but never delivered by President Nixon – until now. The immersive project invites you into this alternative history and asks us all to consider how new technologies can bend, redirect and obfuscate the truth around us.

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