Deepfake Scammers Love Becoming Joe Rogan

Deepfake Scammers Love Becoming Joe Rogan

The thing about deepfake-impersonating a celebrity is that you can be almost anyone in the universe. You can be royalty! You can be a sex symbol! You can be a beloved dead actor brought back to life! So why do so many scammers, software developers, and Internet wise guys choose to be Joe Rogan?  

AI startup Dessa started the ball rolling, developing software (in 2019!) that can make anyone look and sound like Rogan. Last year, another AI company released a podcast featuring a conversation between AI versions of Rogan and the previously dead Steve Jobs. Earlier this week, Cracked told you about comic Zach Silberberg using AI to fake ridiculous (and therefore eerily convincing) conversations between Rogan and Ben Shapiro. Canadians are dismayed about this phony dialogue between Rogan and Justin Trudeau.

This week, TikTok pulled down a fake video featuring “Rogan” shilling for Alpha Grind, a supposed libido booster for men. According to FakeRogan, it’s a supplement that can “really make a difference down there.”  (The actual Alpha Grind product on Amazon is an instant coffee, albeit one with a Roganesque rundown of claimed health benefits.)

The implications of deepfake technology are alarming and potentially dangerous. But why is so much cutting-edge AI being devoted to impersonating the longtime host of Fear Factor? We have a few theories.

Theory 1: There’s so much Rogan to fake.

Rogan is a prime target for AI voice training, theorizes Ars Technica, because there is so much Rogan to choose from based on his hundreds of podcasts. AI needs material to sample, and few spew more words into the digital ether than the Here Comes the Boom costar. And the podcaster’s popularity likely plays into the equation--Rogan content has a way of going viral, even when it’s not really Rogan. "It's nice to sit back in the car and listen to you rant," says AI-generated Steve Jobs, proving that even dead geniuses are fans.

Theory 2: There is significant overlap in the Deepfake Scammer and Joe Rogan Listener populations.

Theory 3: Rogan has uploaded himself to Skynet.

Are we living in Terminator’s Skynet yet? If so, would anyone put it past the real Joe Rogan to hardwire his rants directly into the artificial general superintelligence system, if only as a means to promote Allform Customizable Sofas and MeUndies? We bow to our new digital overlords and thank them for the 20% off and free shipping when we use the code JOE.

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