A deepfake video of New South Wales Premier Berejiklian is doing the rounds on Twitter. In the video she is singing and dancing to the ‘I’m Just A Girl in Love’ theme song from Crazy Ex Girlfriend. And god dammit, it’s pretty funny.
Before we dive in, it’s worth noting that deepfakes are often bad, to say the least. While there is a lot of research going into good and practical uses of the technology, it’s often misused online.
But occasionally, deepfakes have the ability to make you chuckle, as is the case when it involves the latest Gladys Berejiklian scandal.
For anyone unaware, the NSW Premier has recently been in front of ICAC due to her “close personal relationship” with former Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire. Maguire is currently being investigated over allegations of corrupt conduct.
Berejiklian has publicly stated mixed statements about the nature of the five-year relationship. She has both downplayed the relationship and said she was in love and wanted to get married.
It’s left some punters questioning the truth of the matter, as well as Berejiklian’s ability to effectively govern. It’s also naturally resulted in memes, and this time it’s of the deepfake nature.
Gladys Berejiklian Deepfake
It all started when Mashable’s Caitlin Welsh asked Twitter to deepfake Berejiklian into the season 2 theme song of Crazy Ex Girlfriend.
Can someone good at the internet deepfake Gladys into this please https://t.co/NT5gLnzK8q
— Caitlin Welsh (@Caitlin_Welsh) October 20, 2020
And because it’s the internet, the call was quickly answered.
“I can’t believe this is the thing that got me to learn how easy it is to make deepfake vids,” Fergus Halliday replied. “This technology is horrifying. We are all doomed.”
Mere hours later the comment was followed by a truly cursed deepfake of Berejiklian being inserted into the lead role of the song.
I can't believe this is the thing that got me to learn how easy it is to make deepfake vids. This technology is horrifying. We are all doomed. pic.twitter.com/vEgSt511Z2
— Fergus Halliday (@Cvamped) October 21, 2020
It’s really quite funny, but Halliday isn’t wrong about how scarily easy for anyone to create a deepfake. And while this isn’t exactly news — we’ve known this for awhile — it serves as a good reminder.
“As someone who follows and writes about tech, I’m pretty familiar with deepfakes as a phenomenon. So I knew it wasn’t going be that difficult but, even still, I was a little thrown off by just how simple and easy the process was,” Halliday said in a DM to Gizmodo Australia.
Halliday stated that it was similar to making a meme, but just took a bit more time.
“It took about five minutes to download the source videos and images of Rachel Bloom and Gladys Berejiklian, about five minutes to upload them into a web-based deepfake generator and then another four or so hours of waiting for the video to process,” he said.
As funny as this is, it’s a reminder of how scarily easy the process is, and explains why it’s so often abused. Just today we saw this after bots began sending thousands of deepfake photos of women across the platform without their consent.
“In this instance, I saw someone jokingly suggest deepfaking Gladys into a dance number from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and talked myself into learning how to make it happen out of curiosity. But it’s super alarming to imagine what someone with more malicious intent might be able to do as the technology becomes more democratised and mainstream,” Halliday said.
“It’s already hard enough to tell what’s true on the internet but, somehow, deepfakes promise to make the problem even worse. We often think about the threat of deepfakes in the context of world politics but, working at a smaller scale, they could still wreak all sorts of havoc.”