We need to accept that deepfakes are here to stay in film and TV

Last week saw the launch of Deep Fake Neighbour Wars, the first ever deepfake comedy. We need to start talking about the legal and ethical implications of this technology, says New Scientist’s television columnist Bethan Ackerley


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1 February 2023

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Michelle D’urbano

LAST week, UK streaming service ITVX unleashed a world first. It came in the form of a sketch show in which some of the world’s biggest stars, from actor Idris Elba to climate campaigner Greta Thunberg, are reimagined as squabbling neighbours, drawing battle lines over communal gardens and Christmas decorations.

More significant than these quarrels between famous faces, though, is how those faces were created. Deep Fake Neighbour Wars takes the voices and bodies of impressionists, then marries them with digital versions of celebrity visages. Welcome to the first ever deepfake comedy.

I have started watching and I won’t pretend …

Article amended on 9 February 2023

This piece has been changed to note that Andrew Rogoyski works at the University of Surrey, UK

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