Arts & Culture News

Watch JFK Discuss Rick and Morty in New Deepfake Video

Like JFK once said: "Don't believe everything you see on the internet."
Like JFK once said: "Don't believe everything you see on the internet." National Archives / Handout- Getty
Deepfake technology has reached alarming heights in recent years, but every once in a while, someone uses it for benevolent purposes. Case in point, one person used it to answer the age-old question, “What if John F. Kennedy was a fan of the animated television series Rick and Morty?”

Last week, a YouTuber with the display name “Ekian M” uploaded a deepfake video of the former president, who was assassinated in Dallas in 1963, saying in his trademark Boston accent, “To be fair, you have to have a very high IQ to understand Rick and Morty. The humor is extremely subtle, and without a solid grasp of theoretical physics, most of the jokes would go over a typical viewer’s head.” Before this, you can faintly hear him say, “Wubba lubba dub dub.”

Ekian M says in the video’s description, “I was able to make this in the span of [three] hours with very little effort.”

The content of this deepfake speech comes from a copypasta (a copy-and-pasted block of text that is often shared or altered as a meme) that was originally posted on Instagram by an ostensibly sincere fan of the Adult Swim series. The text is often used sarcastically to make fun of the show’s bloviating, pseudo-intellectual fans. The meme garnered so much traction that Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon himself has recited it in jest.

This is far from the only humorous, albeit realistic deepfake video to surface online. Similar videos can be found of public figures like Jay-Z, Donald Trump and Martin Luther King Jr. regurgitating other copypastas.

Still, deepfake technology has had profoundly unsettling implications in its ability to create fake but realistic pornography of celebrities. In 2017, deepfake pornography became prominent on social media platforms such as Reddit, and some of the victims of this include actresses such as Daisy Ridley, Scarlett Johansson and Emma Watson.

It has also led to a rise in misinformation. Last month, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology revealed the horrifying potential of this in releasing a deepfake video of President Richard Nixon announcing that astronauts died during the Apollo 11 mission (the one in which Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon).

But as Rick and Morty protagonist Rick Sanchez himself once said, “Sometimes science is more art than science,” and the fact that we have footage of Kennedy musing about the show after reciting its signature catchphrase is arguably an even bigger step for mankind. Either way, it’s abundantly clear that Lee Harvey Oswald was definitely not a fan.
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Garrett Gravley was born and grew up in Dallas. He mostly writes about music, but veers into arts and culture, local news and politics. He is a graduate of the University of North Texas and has written for the Dallas Observer since October 2018.

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