Syntesizing Faces and Emotions Through Neural Network Technology

The field of neural network technology is rapidly advancing in its ability to synthesize new content, whether that be videos, images, audio or text, that is at times almost indistinguishable from human-authored content. What happens when we no longer are able to distinguish whether people portrayed in a video actually exist or not?

 Photo: Siri Flatlandsmo

Photo: Siri Flatlandsmo

Nicholas Diakopoulos is a globally leading expert on algorithmic accountability in the news.

In his talk at the Watching in the Media conference in Bergen on March 20, Diakopoulos will  will cover the state-of-the-art and capabilities of neural network image / video / audio synthesis. The presentation will include examples of synthesized faces, emotions, facial attributes, environmental photos, video paint-by-numbers,  and video puppeteering. From there he will expose some of the ethical issues that result from the technology, such as undermining visual evidence in journalism, and contributing to authenticity issues in social media.

Diakopoulos is an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at Northwestern University where he is Director of the Computational Journalism Lab (CJL). He is also a Tow Fellow at Columbia University School of Journalism as well as Associate Professor II at the ViSmedia project, University of Bergen.

Diakopoulos has earlier stated that 2017 was a tough one for social media. In the Nieman Lab predictions for 2018, he wrote, "Propaganda campaigns came to light. Bot armies continued to bully, intimidate, and harass. Warehouses of trolls pushed political agendas. Public-comment processes were polluted." Diakopoulos also suggested a new solution in the era of fake news: An “online weather report” that "would show which ways the bot and troll winds were blowing and which topics or issues were being manipulated that day".

Nicholas Diakopoulos’ fields of interest include computational and data journalism, social computing, data visualization, and user-experience design, and he also advices newsrooms in responsible uses of new technologies.

Read more about Nicholas here: http://www.nickdiakopoulos.com

Sara Pedersen Stene