At the end of August, the Zao application was launched in China, which allows using just one photo (optionally a series of photos) to substitute your face in the video. Unlike the DeepFake service, where the neural network had to be trained on dozens of images in a few hours, in Zao the whole process takes a matter of seconds.
The application quickly took a leading position in the top of China’s App Store, but at the same time caused concern in social networks.
So far, Zao is available only to Chinese users, so the editors of could not verify it. But on Twitter, a few examples of how the technology worked. Developer Allan Hia, for example, demonstrated how easy it is to replace Leonardo DiCaprio’s face with another. Video processing, he said, took about eight seconds.
The result is not always obtained “100% accurate”, but, in general, the application copes well for its processing speed, the developer said. If you wish, you can replace all the characters in the video in general – this is what he did with an excerpt from the Game of Thrones. The technology also works with video games.
At the same time, you can’t substitute your face in Zao in absolutely any video – you must choose from the existing library of videos. According to users, it is quite extensive and includes films, series, TV shows, clips and cutscenes from games. Most likely, the developers simply trained the algorithm well on these videos, so the technology produces good results.
Hia noted that the application has a separate section for generating memes with its participation.
Despite the existing restrictions, the developer in the thread fantasized about how the technology could develop: you play roles in films, streamers play games for “themselves.” “If Pornhub is not yet working on the implementation of something like that, then they should definitely discuss it,” he added.
At the same time, Allan emphasized the “moral side of the issue.” “I see so many options where technology can turn the wrong way,” one of the commentators wrote on Twitter.
For several days, Zao developers have already managed to get into a scandal. According to Bloomberg, in earlier versions of the application, the user agreement warned of almost unlimited rights for developers to create content. They could dispose of it at will, and users after registration could not cancel the agreement. Because of this, China’s application rating was lowered, and WeChat began to remove videos generated using Zao.