The First Celebrity Deepfake Television Show Has Arrived

Deep Fake Neighbor Wars will use deepfake technology to impersonate celebrities.

By Douglas Helm | Published

deepfake technology

Just when you thought trashy reality TV couldn’t sink any lower, you get a show like Deep Fake Neighbor Wars. This ITV-created British TV show features actors playing celebrities in various ‘bad neighbor’-type skits. The actors impersonate the celebrities with their voices, but also with their faces thanks to deepfake technology.

While interest in AI and applications like deepfake technology are at an all-time high, this certainly seems like a pretty uninspired way to take the technology. As Futurism points out, this also seems like a show that will be open to many lawsuits from the celebrities being faked. However, the comedy and parody nature of the show may open up some legal loopholes that would allow them to avoid any serious litigation.

Deepfake technology is an interesting subject from a legal perspective. If the show clearly states that these are impersonators and not the people themselves, would it help them avoid getting sued for using celebrity likenesses without permission? With it being such a new technology, we’re sort of in the Wild West with figuring out what is and isn’t allowed.

Texas, Virginia, and California were the first states to make laws specifically banning certain uses of deepfake technology. In Texas, there are laws in place to prevent deepfakes from being used in elections while Virginia has laws banning deepfake pornography. California has laws against both malicious election-related deepfakes (within 60 days of an election) and nonconsensual deepfake pornography.

deepfake technology

As for the UK, where the Deep Fake Neighbor Wars series hails from, there are laws being worked on to make sharing nonconsensual pornography made with deepfake technology illegal. So, as of now, it looks like Deep Fake Neighbor Wars may be safe from litigation, even if it’s terrible. And according to the reviews, it is pretty terrible.

It’s certainly an interesting subject because there are ways that deepfake technology can be beneficial and provide value. Sticking to the entertainment theme, deepfake can be used to give us acting performances we may not have seen otherwise. A recent example would be the use of deepfake and visual effects to portray Mark Hamill as a young Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett.

Of course, there are more innocuous uses of deepfake technology, like replacing Sean Connery with Burt Reynolds in a Bond film. Deepfake artists could replace actors with other actors that said no to roles, giving us entertaining ‘what if?’ versions of films. Some actors may even opt to sell their likenesses and voices (like James Earl Jones for Vader), so they can be in future projects even if they’re retired or pass away.

There are also educational opportunities, like the time the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Centre created deepfake holograms of Holocaust survivors, so students could ask them questions and interact with them. While the implications of AI and deepfake technology can be intimidating, there are good applications of the tech that can help humans rather than replace them. Deep Fake Neighbor Wars just isn’t one of those good applications.