A deepfake video of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and rival billionaire Elon Musk as “Star Trek” characters has surfaced online, highlighting how easily technology can manipulate images and prompting humor and criticism on Twitter.
The video, created by the deepfake account TheFakening, shows Bezos’ face transposed onto a large-headed alien known as a Talosian, while Musk is portrayed as the human Captain Pike. The two discuss the fate of the human race against a backdrop of eerie science-fiction music.
The video could be alluding to the rivalry between two of the world’ richest men. Bezos and Musk have competed over their private space programs – Bezos’ Blue Origin and Musk’s SpaceX – including public criticism on Twitter.
The two have clashed over launch pads and patents as they compete to dominate the emerging market of privatized space exploration.
The depiction of Bezos as an alien may also be suggesting the world’s richest man is out of touch with society.
The discussion is taken from the “Star Trek” episode “The Cage,” in which the alien Talosians try to entrap the captain of the USS Enterprise, Christopher Pike (played by Jeffrey Hunter), by tempting him with images of a beautiful woman.
In the dialogue, Bezos’ alien expresses his surprise at human nature.
“The customs and history of your race show a unique hatred of captivity. Even when it’s pleasant and benevolent, you prefer death, and this makes you too violent and dangerous a species for our needs,” he tells Captain Pike.
Bezos has been shown as an alien before, in an episode of the cartoon comedy “South Park,” which showed him as a big-brained supervillain.
But this latest video has taken the realism further through the use of deepfake technology. A video is considered a deepfake video if it has been doctored to show someone doing or saying something that never happened using advanced technology.
In recent years, deepfake videos have become increasingly widespread online. Twitter recently introduced a policy to ban “synthetic or manipulated” content on its platform.
The majority of deepfakes are pornographic, according to the AI firm Deeptrace, but videos of Barack Obama, Mark Zuckenberg, and other celebrities have also gone viral. The technology involves transposing the face of one person onto another using software which decodes the facial expressions of both people and implants them onto every frame of a video.