What you see is what you get, right? Well, not even close. Tech-savvy companies are making millions by realistically tweaking how actors – both male and female – look on your cinema and television screens. “Nobody looks like what you see on TV and in the movies. Everybody is altered.

And it’s not just Hollywood that’s surreptitiously tricking us into thinking their actors really are that perfect, pretty soon we’re going to have to cast a skeptical eye on every piece of video footage out there, because, as an international team of researchers has demonstrated in the video below, their new software gives them the freedom to make Donald Trump, George W. Bush, and Vladamir Putin say anything.

Computer scientists from Stanford University in the US, and the Max Planck Institute and University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany, have developed software that can control the face of anyone in any video, by superimposing someone else’s mouth onto the subject – sort of like a way more sophisticated version of Face Swap Live. The software works with any type of camera and any recorded video. “Using advanced facial recognition, it looks at about 15 seconds of any face in a video and creates a 3D model of that face in real time.

As the researchers demonstrate, if you can find a footage of a person making a variety of expressions as they speak – Bush smiles and moves his mouth around a lot of in the clip they show – you can make the effect scarily convincing. While it looks like a bit of fun, once technology like this makes it out to the masses, it has the potential to change everything. We can no longer trust the validity of any image put in front of us, and pretty soon, every clip of a world leader speaking will be up for debate too. So be ready for it. Don’t believe what you watch, it could be shopped.

Ref. sciencealert.com