It finally happened. Technology has plunged me into an existential crisis. The culprit? Deep fake GIF and meme creator Doublicat.
Let me explain. The app allows you to take a selfie (or a photo of a friend) and pastes your face on to a GIF or meme in its library. You can then send the results to your friends, family, people you want to terrify to the very core of their being, or post it to Instagram.
The concept behind the app is both clever and concerning. It takes only a few seconds for your face to be overlaid on that of Taylor Swift, Brad Pitt or Paul Rudd with his head hanging out the car window. Your overlaid face will adopt the same expressions as the original, in theory. You might get a bit of weirdness if there's a lot of face movement, but on the whole, it's an interesting experiment.
Or at least if you use someone else’s face. The problem is that even when it works perfectly, seeing yourself on someone else’s body makes you look at yourself in a whole new light. It’s not necessarily a flattering one either. You find yourself asking questions like “does my face really look that weird?” or “Is my nose really that shape?”. I never noticed the furrow between my eyebrows before, and I’m not entirely sure the lighting is to blame for the many other weird things that popped up. It looks like me, but all wrong.
The app is also limited, in that you currently have to take the photo live rather than uploading one from your phone’s album – potentially one with more flattering light. You can also only use the library of GIFs already in Doublicat.
I sent some to my sister. The response? “Stop lol. It’s weird.” She was right. They were also mainly unflattering. This app doesn’t do much for the ego.
The idea of deep fakes is that they are supposed to be convincing. Most of my attempts at Doublicat were, sadly, not. There is no way that anyone would think these GIFs are genuinely me. Thankfully.
Just be prepared that the result may not be the AI face swap you were looking for.