The best deepfake examples continue to amaze us, while also raising concerns about whether we can be sure what’s real. Over a few short years, the technology has advanced to the point where it’s becoming really quite difficult to see the flaws in many of the best deepfake examples. They used to all have that “uncanny valley” feel that made it obvious that what we were looking at isn’t real, but we’ve seen increasingly convincing deepfakes in the last year or so.
Deepfakes have been used for various purposes, mainly for entertainment and parody, but they’ve already been used in advertising campaigns and to raise awareness of the technology itself face swap apps. We’ve even seen a few early cases of misuse of the technology in attempts to spread fake news. We’ll look at examples of all of these below in our roundup of the best deepfake examples to date.
In this roundup, we’ve attempted to show that range of uses and types of deepfakes around. We’ve included some of the most convincing deepfakes but also examples that clearly wouldn’t fool anyone but remain interesting either for how they were used or the reaction they generated.
What is a deepfake? Scroll down to the bottom for a briefing on how the technology works, but at the most basic level a deepfake is a video showing someone’s likeness but doing things or saying things that they didn’t do or say. The results can be impressive and very funny, but they can also raise concerns about privacy, manipulation and authenticity. For more on the wider phenomenon of AI-generated imagery, see our guide to how to use DALL-E 2 and how the best AI art generators compare. In the meantime here are the best deepfake examples we’ve seen so far.
This is not Morgan Freeman
One of the most scarily convincing deepfakes is this Morgan Freeman deepfake. The video was first shared by Dutch deepfake YouTube Channel Diep Nep(opens in new tab) last year, crediting the concept to Bob de Jong and the (very good) voice acting to Boet Schouwink.
The video’s still hugely impressive, and frightening, a year on, as we saw when it resurfaced on Twitter last month. “How can this tech NOT be deployed in the 2024 election?” one user commented. “Soon we’ll see that even this is essentially child’s play when it comes to the actual, ever-present (yet invisible) capabilities of identity manipulation and whole-cloth digital identity creation…the implications of which are far-reaching & bone chilling,” someone added.
The Shining starring Jim Carrey
Bizarre film/actor crossovers are popular amongst deepfake creators; you can find plenty of them on YouTube (including the above Jerry Seinfield and Pulp Fiction mashup). This terrifyingly good edit sees Jim Carrey take on the role of Jack Torrence in a series of videos showing the most important moments from the 1980 film The Shining. It’s scarily convincing, and makes us want to see Jim Carrey staring in a horror film. His exaggerated expressions would be perfect.
If you want to see a better comparison of the Deepfake edit versus the original, the creators Ctrl Shift Face(opens in new tab) have uploaded a before and after of the Jack to Jimmy transformation. (opens in new tab)
Spider-man: No Way Home but it’s Tobey Maguire
Everyone has a favourite Spider-man actor, and if your favourite is Tobey Maguire you’ll love this particular edit. Popular deepfake creator Shamook(opens in new tab) took the Spider-man: No Way Home trailer and replaced Tom Holland’s face with the original spidey, Tobey Maguire. It’s a subtle effect, but executed brilliantly so you can barely tell there’s been a change at all.
This kind of edit makes us wonder what the future of film could look like using this technology. Imagine being able to choose your preferred actor to play the lead in the film you’re watching. Wild.