Without cracking a smile, he continued. “Now, you see, I would never say these things. At least not in a public address. But someone else would.” The view shifted to a split screen, revealing the actor Jordan Peele. Obama hadn’t said anything—it was a real recording of an Obama address blended with Peele’s impersonation. Side by side, the message continued as Peele, like a digital ventriloquist, put more words in the former president’s mouth.
In this era of fake news, the video was a public service announcement produced by BuzzFeed News, showcasing an application of new artificial-intelligence (AI) technology that could do for audio and video what Photoshop has done for digital images: allow for the manipulation of reality.