Matt Stone and Trey Parker, best known for creating South Park, have raised $20 million for their deepfake studio, Deep Voodoo. The funding comes from Connect Ventures, a company that invests in opinionated products.
“Deep Voodoo has established itself as a leading synthetic media technology platform that has already impacted traditional entertainment. Deep Voodoo uses artificial intelligence to support productions in innovative ways that are faster and more cost-effective than traditional VFX technology,” says Michael Blank of Connect Ventures. “Connect Ventures is thrilled to lead the investment in Deep Voodoo, providing unique access to CAA and NEA’s resources and relationships.”
Deep Voodoo was Founded During Lockdown
Parker and Stone founded Deep Voodoo in 2020 during the shutdown caused by the pandemic. The duo was in the midst of putting together an AI artist team for an upcoming project at the time. Because of COVID, they swivelled focus to creating deepfake tools.
“We stumbled upon this amazing technology and ended up recruiting the best deepfake artists in the world,” says Stone. “We are psyched to share their brilliance with the Hollywood creative community.”
Deep Voodoo is now offering face-swapping visual effects to creators worldwide. The company debuted its deepfake tech in Kendrick Lamar’s music video for “The Heart Part 5”. In the video, Lamar’s face morphs, taking on features of Kobe Bryant, OJ Simpson, Kanye West and others.
The Deepfake Issue
While Deepfake technology is helpful in the entertainment industry, it can also lead to controversy. Deepfakes of celebrities such as Tom Cruise and Leonardo DiCaprio are showing up in advertisements. Worse yet is the danger that creators can use Deepfake tech to slander politicians in political ads. The US state of Texas has gone so far as to ban deepfakes in political ads, while Virginia has banned their use in revenge porn. However, until proper regulations are put in place across the globe, the misuse of Deepfake tech will remain an issue. Luckily, Intel’s Fakecatcher AI can detect Deepfakes with 96 percent accuracy