Incident 39: Deepfake Obama Introduction of Deepfakes

Description: University of Washington researchers made a deepfake of Obama, followed by Jordan Peele


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Alleged: University of Washington and FakeApp developed and deployed an AI system, which harmed Barack Obama.

Incident Stats

Incident ID
Report Count
Incident Date
Sean McGregor

CSETv0 Taxonomy Classifications

Taxonomy Details

Full Description

In 2017, researchers at the University of Washington used 14 hours of audio and video clips spoken by President Barack Obama to create a deepfake video. One year later, comedian Jordan Peele also created a fake video of Obama to highlight the ease of faking public statements, but used his own voice impression instead.

Short Description

University of Washington researchers made a deepfake of Obama, followed by Jordan Peele



Harm Type

Harm to social or political systems

AI System Description

In the 2017 case, a recurrent neural network was used to generate synthetic video. In the 2018 case, a proprietary model developed by FakeApp was used to generate synthetic video.

System Developer

University of Washington, FakeApp

Sector of Deployment

Information and communication

Relevant AI functions

Perception, Action

AI Techniques


AI Applications

Content curation



Named Entities

University of Washington, Jordan Peele, Barack Obama

Technology Purveyor

University of Washington, Jordan Peele

Beginning Date


Ending Date


Near Miss

Near miss


Deliberate or expected

Lives Lost


Data Inputs

14 hours of footage from Obama's public statements and addresses (2017), Jordan Peele's voice and lip movements (2018)

GMF Taxonomy Classifications

Taxonomy Details

Known AI Goal

Deepfake Video Generation

Known AI Technology

Neural Network, Face Detection, Recurrent Neural Network, Generative Adversarial Network

Potential AI Technology

3D reconstruction

Potential AI Technical Failure

Misinformation Generation Hazard

CSETv1 Taxonomy Classifications

Taxonomy Details

Harm Distribution Basis


Sector of Deployment

Arts, entertainment and recreation, professional, scientific and technical activities

AI Creates Fake Obama

AI Creates Fake Obama

AI Creates Fake Obama · 2017

Photo: University of Washington.

Artificial intelligence software could generate highly realistic fake videos of former president Barack Obama using existing audio and video clips of him, a new study [PDF] finds.

Such work could one day hel…

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Researchers at the University of Washington have produced a realistic video of former US presiden…

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How to Synthesize a Fake Obama Video with Artificial Neural Networks · 2017

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It always starts with porn.

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This AI video of Barack Obama is the disturbing future of fake news · 2018

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Barack Obama fake news video highlights dangers of AI · 2018


Fake news, meet artificial intelligence.

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Watch Jordan Peele use AI to make Obama talk about fake news · 2018

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Not so long ago – and even today – the authenticity of a piece of news was based on p…

Jordan Peele Made a Fake Obama Video to Prove How Easily Conned We Are · 2018

If you, like me, believe yourself to be a scrupulous consumer of news, full of healthy skepticism and too smart for that fake-news bullshit, Jordan Peele has got a big, stiff-ass cup of wake-the-hell-up for you. Yesterday, Peele released a …

Creepy "Barack Obama" video shows how easy it is to manipulate what people say [video] · 2018

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Jordan Peele Warns “Effed-up Dystopia” Using AI to Make Fake Obama Video · 2018

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A.I. Video Depicting Barack Obama Shows Dangers of Fake News · 2018

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How will artificial intelligence affects jobs?

Let’s hear from Barack Obama on the future of the world.

To learn more, check out: 10 Key Robotics Facts You Need to Know and 10 Ways Robotics Could Transform Our Future.

Obama tech advisor: Fun’s over for AI-driven ‘Deep Fake’ video · 2018

“All of this is fun and late night comedy and video games – until it isn’t,” says former White House senior advisor David Edelman

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AIs created our fake video dystopia but now they could help fix it · 2018

Rami Niemi

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A "variant" is an incident that shares the same causative factors, produces similar harms, and involves the same intelligent systems as a known AI incident. Rather than index variants as entirely separate incidents, we list variations of incidents under the first similar incident submitted to the database. Unlike other submission types to the incident database, variants are not required to have reporting in evidence external to the Incident Database. Learn more from the research paper.

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· 28 reports