Each week seems to bring us another AI-enabled deepfake monstrosity that manages to outdo what’s come before. We thought we’d seen it all when Nick Offerman’s mug was plastered all over the Full House intro. Then we assumed the technology had found one of its best uses in a series of videos that turned everyone from Clint Eastwood to Matt LeBlanc into ape-faced freaks. Now, we know better than to expect anything other than a constant escalation into increasingly surreal worlds as we watch, for some reason, The Lord Of The Ring’s Gollum perform “Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop).”
This latest assault on the cosmic order was created by “cryo115,” a person who picked up where that horrendous video of celebrities singing Smash Mouth’s “All Star” left off. Here, too, a film clip has been modified with AI lip syncing technology in order to force a character into performing a song against their will. Gollum looks especially horrified in the video, his wide blue eyes seeming to know that he’s been possessed by an all-consuming need to scat the words (and various other mouth sounds) of a novelty dance track.
What could have inspired someone to make this? What dark corners of the mind light up to the point that it seems like a good idea to bring Gollum and Scatman John together? It would be easy to blame the lip sync AI for giving us Scatman Gollum, but it’s important to remember that this sort of technology can only do what we ask of it. It’s the human mind that watches sitcoms and sees the potential to swap in mustachioed upper lips and Planet Of The Apes faces. The responsibility lies with us. After all, no other living being that we know of sees The Lord Of The Rings and finds itself thinking, “Y’know, this tortured, congested, fantasy creature in a loincloth would be a lot cooler if he was scatting.”
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