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David Beckham 'Speaks' in Nine Languages, Using Deepfake Tech, in Call to End Malaria

Deepfake technology has previously been called out for its potential for abuse, as it has been used to simluate celebrity porn as well as create revenge porn videos.

News18.com

Updated:April 10, 2019, 4:25 PM IST
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David Beckham 'Speaks' in Nine Languages, Using Deepfake Tech, in Call to End Malaria
(Photo: David Beckham/ AP)

Former England captain David Beckham lent his voice, and borrowed a few others, as he helped launched a global appeal to end malaria on Tuesday.

Appearing in a short video, Beckham starts delivering his message in English before appearing to speak in eight other languages as he urges viewers to add their voice to an audio petition demanding action against the disease.

The voices are not his own however, but instead comprise men and women from across the world, including a number of malaria survivors and doctors.

The technology used to create the effect is called 'Deepfake' (a portmanteau of "deep learning" and "fake") which uses artificial intelligence to synthesise human imagery. Deepfake technology has previously been called out for its potential for abuse, as it has been used to simluate celebrity porn as well as create revenge porn videos. This video on the eradication of malaria, then, makes for a pleasant change as an actual positive use of the technology.

Malaria No More UK, the charity which created the video, said that film makers used "video synthesis technology" to make it look like Beckham was speaking Spanish, Arabic, French, Hindi, Mandarin, Swahili, Kinyarwanda and Yoruba.

Rather than a traditional petition of written signatures, the campaign entitled "Malaria Must Die, So Millions Can Live" asks people to visit their website and record the message 'Malaria Must Die'.

A Global Fund conference to be held in Lyon in October is hoping to raise at least $14 billion in order to halve the mortality rate of malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation reported on Tuesday that World Health Organization (WHO) figures show malaria kills roughly 435,000 people a year, with children aged under five making up 61 percent of deaths. The organisation's latest World Malaria report warned that the global response had stalled despite a United Nations' global goal to end the disease by 2030, the Foundation added.

(With Reuters inputs)

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