Deep Fakes Get Real Fake

Rob posted this on Facebook today:

My first reaction is that I should show this to my dad before he starts getting forwarded emails containing a video of Obama from an underground bunker in DC where he intends to stage a coup. Someone already sent him that email, un-ironically, but without a video. Add the video in and we may be flying under the BS radar of mainstream, intelligent people who might happen to lean a little bit to the right.

Here’s a video from the BBC talking about how this kind of thing is made:

At the end of it, the researcher mentions that once you know how to make one of these, you can then use technology to spot an edited video.

I do worry whether or not people will listen when they’re told they’re looking at a fake. Or when a real video is dismissed as fake.

“Listen, I know you think the FBI is dosing gun owners with LSD and conscripting them into UN drum circles, but a researcher named Dr. Fancy Pants at the University of Blue State ran a sophisticated algorithmic test on that video, and … wait … where are you going?”

Watch your step…there’s rough footing ahead.

VCU Brandcenter Seeking Art Direction Professor

One of the best decisions I’ve made was leaving full time agency work to teach at the VCU Brandcenter. Working with interesting people, mentoring creative talent, talking about interesting things, and the opportunity to built a freelance consulting practice.

The hours are great. Your family sees you more. And did I mention the summers? Because we’re off in the summer. Though I’ve managed to fill my summers with freelancing work rather than doing tai chi at the river or learning to paint. Oh well.

Anyways, we’re looking for someone good and interesting to teach Art Direction.

Click through here to see the full job description and apply…

Killzapper and VidWipe

Brett Terpstra is the only developer that sells his own t-shirt. Or I should say, he’s the only developer that sells a t-shirt that I bought.

Why did I buy a t-shirt made by a developer?

Because Brett Terpstra makes tools and services that make Macs more powerful. And usually he posts them for free on his site.

Here’s two bookmarklets that he developed to kill things on websites (like autoplay videos or ads) with the click of a mouse or a keyboard hotkey:
1. KillZapper – Click to Kill web annoyances:

Click the bookmarklet in the menubar, then click anything on the page. Once you click (or hit a key), it turns off, so you don’t risk deleting anything else. It specifically targets the tags div, video, figure, and aside, and iframe. That should cover the majority of annoyances.

  1. VidWipe – Delete ’em all:

Ok, so KillZapper was kind of cool in the way it let you target specific elements, but after running into issues on sites like CNN where I couldn’t easily control the click handlers and determine parent elements, I decided to just make this simpler. Click this bookmarklet to just kill all iframes and HTML5 video elements on the page without prejudice.

Dogma is comforting, and in this business it goes by many names.

So says Erika Hall of Mule Design in her recent Medium piece: Design Sprints Are Snake Oil.

What promised to be a vicious takedown of the institution of agile methods like design thinking, was really a takedown of the idea of design sprints as the One True God.

Agile processes can be useful. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t have taken hold in business to the extent that they have.

The problem is that not all problems can be solved by the same silver-bullet process:

… many methods start out as legitimate tools to promote better, clearer thinking faster and end up as activities substituted for thinking.

Yes, sprints can be useful. As can Design Thinking and agile processes and all of the rest.

We teach them at the Brandcenter because they are useful and students need to have an understanding of how it all works.

But they are only one arrow in the quiver.

Let’s use them that way.

Biases Against Podcast Professionalism

A note on podcast tonality from Kari Gee(?):

Some podcasts & hosts are almost too podcast-y, you know? The production values are slightly too polished, the voices a little too smooth. It’s like a schtick sometimes, like a schmoozy Rat Pack Vegas number: they hit every single beat you expect them to and leave no room for chance. But my biases against “professionalism” are my own cross to bear, so I barrel through.

Samesies. If it sounds too glossy, and it’s not from the NYTimes or a big media company, I’m out.

I’m not sure why. Are they too self-assured? Faking it instead of making it? It almost feels unprofessional, in the way recent college graduates will show up to their new jobs in shiny dress clothes for the first month or two. They think they appear professional. But they look like newbs to everyone else.

One constant problem you run into when showing ads to people in focus groups is the snap-to-grid tendency. People judge an ad by whether or not it looks and feels like their expectations of an ad.

No one needs an imitation of a radio show.

Just make it good.

Don’t worry so much about making it glossy.

Glossy attracts glossy listeners.

And they’ll want to connect on LinkedIn.