Infodemic

Algorithmic Video

2020

Infodemic is a video created using neural networks that embodies the constructed nature of online information and the personas of celebrities and social media influencers who have spread misinformation about the coronavirus, including ways the virus is exacerbated, treated, and prevented. The messages in the video are taken from academics, medical experts, and journalists and are spoken by talking heads generated using a conditional generative adversarial network (cGAN), which are used in some deepfake technologies. In the generated videos, the influencers deliver public service announcements or present news stories that counter the misinformation they have spread.

The creation of a deepfake video typically involves training an algorithm on hundreds or thousands of images of a single person to reproduce a convincing likeness of that person doing or saying things they did not say or do. The resulting video is then touched up in post production to increase its believability. In contrast, we trained our algorithms on a corpora of multiple individuals and performed no post-production touching up of the generated footage. The result is a talking head that morphs between and combines the faces of different celebrities and influencers, invoking the plastic, evolving, and unstable nature of information during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Infodemic is a collaboration with Derek Curry.
My contributions were conceptualization, research, and editing.