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11.18.19
Cube City

Watch a Deepfake Turn Footage of New York Into a Cubist Painting

October 3rd 19__Dan Robitzski__Filed Under: Artificial Intelligence
Matchue via YouTube

Big AIpple

Thanks to a deepfake-generating AI tool, New York City’s Times Square just became even more chaotic.

A new video uses AI to re-imagine existing footage of Manhattan in the style of Carlos Merida’s 1982 cubist painting, “A hymn to the Shulamite.” The video, posted Tuesday by the AI-tinkering YouTube channel Matchue, is a fun art project — but also a sign of how deft algorithms are getting at interpreting and manipulating footage of the world.

Style Transfer

Per the deepfake video’s description, the algorithm used a technique called style transfer to convert New York City into a picturesque fantasy world populated by disjointed, blocky pedestrians, vehicles, and skyscrapers.

The technique merges two inputs: in this case, video footage of New York and Merida’s painting, taking the content from the former and the style of the latter to create a new hybrid. In this case, it turned New York into a colorful landscape that sort of looks like it was rendered on an old PlayStation.

More on deepfakes: New System Makes It Troublingly Easy to Create Deepfakes