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Forging Voices and Faces: The Dangers of Audio and Video Fabrication

Adobe, Baidu, Google, and others have software that can fabricate convincing video or audio clips of anyone

3 min read
Photo: Jonathan Knowles/Getty Images
Photo: Jonathan Knowles/Getty Images

In 1963, before he could give the speech he’d prepared for his trip to Dallas, U.S. president John F. Kennedy was assassinated. In March 2018, a company re-created the speech that Kennedy had intended to give, synthesized from fragments of his own voice.

Technology companies including Google, Baidu, and Adobe have recently funded efforts to fabricate audio or video from samples of speech or fragments of footage. Startups including Voicery and Lyrebird have developed customizable human voices (built from audio recorded by professional voice actors) that can be programmed to say anything. These companies have also released do-it-yourself software that lets you synthesize your own voice (or someone else’s, with their permission) from a 1-minute recording. And open-source tools to build such programs are available on Github.

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An IBM Quantum Computer Will Soon Pass the 1,000-Qubit Mark

The Condor processor is just one quantum-computing advance slated for 2023

4 min read
This photo shows a woman working on a piece of apparatus that is suspended from the ceiling of the laboratory.

A researcher at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center examines some of the quantum hardware being constructed there.

Connie Zhou/IBM

IBM’s Condor, the world’s first universal quantum computer with more than 1,000 qubits, is set to debut in 2023. The year is also expected to see IBM launch Heron, the first of a new flock of modular quantum processors that the company says may help it produce quantum computers with more than 4,000 qubits by 2025.

This article is part of our special report Top Tech 2023.

While quantum computers can, in theory, quickly find answers to problems that classical computers would take eons to solve, today’s quantum hardware is still short on qubits, limiting its usefulness. Entanglement and other quantum states necessary for quantum computation are infamously fragile, being susceptible to heat and other disturbances, which makes scaling up the number of qubits a huge technical challenge.

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