When faceswapping was first developed and published, the technology was groundbreaking, it was a huge step in AI development. It was also completely ignored outside of academia because the code was confusing and fragmentary. It required a thorough understanding of complicated AI techniques and took a lot of effort to figure it out. Until one individual brought it together into a single, cohesive collection. It ran, it worked, and as is so often the way with new technology emerging on the internet, it was immediately used to create inappropriate content. Despite the inappropriate uses the software was given originally, it was the first AI code that anyone could download, run and learn by experimentation without having a Ph.D. in math, computer theory, psychology, and more. Before “deepfakes” these techniques were like black magic, only practiced by those who could understand all of the inner workings as described in esoteric and endlessly complicated books and papers.
“Deepfakes” changed all that and anyone could participate in AI development. To us, developers, the release of this code opened up a fantastic learning opportunity. It allowed us to build on ideas developed by others, collaborate with a variety of skilled coders, experiment with AI whilst learning new skills and ultimately contribute towards an emerging technology which will only see more mainstream use as it progresses.
Are there some out there doing horrible things with similar software? Yes. And because of this, the developers have been following strict ethical standards. Many of us don’t even use it to create videos, we just tinker with the code to see what it does. Sadly, the media concentrates only on the unethical uses of this software. That is, unfortunately, the nature of how it was first exposed to the public, but it is not representative of why it was created, how we use it now, or what we see in its future. Like any technology, it can be used for good or it can be abused. It is our intention to develop FaceSwap in a way that its potential for abuse is minimized whilst maximizing its potential as a tool for learning, experimenting and, yes, for legitimate faceswapping.
We are not trying to denigrate celebrities or to demean anyone. We are programmers, we are engineers, we are Hollywood VFX artists, we are activists, we are hobbyists, we are human beings. To this end, we feel that it’s time to come out with a standard statement of what this software is and isn’t as far as us developers are concerned.
- FaceSwap is not for creating inappropriate content.
- FaceSwap is not for changing faces without consent or with the intent of hiding its use.
- FaceSwap is not for any illicit, unethical, or questionable purposes.
- FaceSwap exists to experiment and discover AI techniques, for social or political commentary, for movies, and for any number of ethical and reasonable uses.
We are very troubled by the fact that FaceSwap can be used for unethical and disreputable things. However, we support the development of tools and techniques that can be used ethically as well as provide education and experience in AI for anyone who wants to learn it hands-on. We will take a zero tolerance approach to anyone using this software for any unethical purposes and will actively discourage any such uses.