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Joe Biden Becomes Rap Sensation Thanks to AI

President Joe Biden has become an unlikely rap star on TikTok thanks to deepfake videos created by using artificial intelligence.

The clips, some of which have over a million views, are being posted by Schmoyoho, a YouTube channel run by Evan, Andrew, Michael and Sarah Gregory, better known as the Gregory Brothers.

The past year has seen dramatic improvements in the quality of computer-created synthetic media, better known as deepfakes. But there are growing concerns they will be used to spread disinformation around key events such as elections.

In the Schmoyoho videos, Biden is shown mimicking the styles of popular rappers, sometimes alone and sometimes with another public figure. The clips combine computer-generated audio of the president and his accomplices with deepfake images, such as Biden sitting on a basketball hoop, and some real photos.

President Joe Biden speaks before signing an executive order on child care and eldercare during a Tuesday event in the White House’s Rose Garden. Deepfake videos appearing to show Biden rapping have gone viral on TikTok.
Drew Angerer/GETTY

One of the most popular videos, which has gained 2.7 million views, is titled “Old Space, Sleepy Joe on the mic.” It has Biden rapping alongside former President Barack Obama. During the duet, Biden says: “They know the clock stops for Joe and Barack. We about to be cooking. You get the pan, I get the crock pot.”

Another clip is titled “Ice Biden,” an apparent reference to American rapper Ice Cube, and has racked up more than 1 million views.

In a third, called “The British Are Coming,” Biden engages in a rap battle against King Charles III, blasting his “absolutely trash Brit rap.” This clip has received over 127,000 views.

Newsweek has contacted Schmoyoho for comment via its website, along with the White House by email.

The term deepfake is used to describe a range of computer-generated content made with the help of artificial intelligence (AI), including video, audio and pictures. Initially, deepfakes were largely used for pranks and to create involuntary pornography, but they are now increasingly used to deliberately mislead people, sometimes for political purposes.

Speaking to Newsweek, Henry Ajder, an expert who hosts a podcast on deepfakes for the BBC, said the past year has seen an “explosion” in “generative content.”

Raising concerns about the next presidential election, Ajder told Newsweek: “For me, 2024 is looking increasingly likely to be an election where deepfakes are deployed quite broadly.”

He continued: “The real key question is whether there is an incredibly high-quality deepfake, which is very hard to authenticate or falsify, and is linked to a critical period in the electoral process —say, the eve of an election or before one of the debates—and becomes part of the narrative from the opposition.”

In March, deepfake images showing Donald Trump being seized by police and then inside prison in an orange jumpsuit went viral. But journalist Eliot Higgins, who created them, said they were AI-generated.

Newsweek has produced a guide to help you detect deepfakes.

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