Guest lecture Deepfake: Flemish top expert on the infinite possibilities of new technology

Credits: Kris Van Exel

He can have Donald Trump say whatever he wants and no one will even notice that it is actually fake. Flemish expert Chris Umé is among the world's best when it comes to deepfake. Using this technique, he manipulates videos so they appear lifelike. On 11 March, Umé will give a guest lecture at his studio to show our journalism students how he works and what possibilities the technology has. This guest lecture is held as part of the subject Media Innovation by lecturer and creative producer Elke Gyselen.

In 2019, a video by Ume went viral. Actor Kit Harrington, known as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones, apologises for the final season. The video also caught the eyes of the makers of South Park. When they decided to gather the world's brightest minds to set up the world's first deepfake special effects studio in Los Angeles, they absolutely wanted Umé to be there. 'When major Hollywood studios want deepfake effects, they come to us first.'

Since Umé made that video of Jon Snow, the quality of technology has improved enormously thanks to his pioneering work. This is certainly evidenced by Sassy Justice, the first production by DeepVoodoo Studios. It is a humorous series that has been completely deepfaked. You see Donald Trump having a stroke: you know it's not real, but you can hardly tell the difference between fiction and reality.

When major Hollywood studios want deepfake effects, they come to us first.

On 11 March, Umé will give our students a look behind the scenes. He will demonstrate how he works and explain how he further refines the technique to achieve even more realistic results. 'I taught myself everything about this technique. I want to inspire the students and show them that you can get far by working hard on what you love doing.' Expect a guest lecture with numerous examples of how deepfake is already being used in our (social) media and what the future possibilities of the technology will be.

Afterwards, we will listen to technology journalist Pieterjan Van Leemputten (DataNews) who closely follows the developments regarding deepfake. He will explore what this technology means for the generation of journalists who will soon be graduating. A journalist's job becomes even more important in a world where you can no longer believe your eyes.

You can follow the guest lecture online for free on 11 March at 7 pm. Please register here.