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Simon Cowell Declares Controversial Deepfake Act the 'Best of the Season' on AGT The America's Got Talent judge was blown away by AI company Metaphysic on season 17 of the show.

By Jonathan Small

NBC

The deepfake company Metaphysic continues to make a splash on Season 17 of America's Got Talent.

On last night's semifinals episode, they screened a real-time, AI-generated performance of Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, and Terry Crews singing the operatic piece "Nessun Dorma." Three company members stood on the stage while powerful machine-learning software seamlessly swapped their faces out for the judges' faces.

The performance was so realistic it caused the usually cranky AGT judge Simon Cowell to gush with praise.

"In terms of talent, originality, this is not the best act of the night—this is the best act of the series so far," Cowell said.

Related: The Deepfake Threat is Real. Here Are 3 Ways to Protect Your Business

Metaphysic Wants to Make Deepfakes Mainstream

Metayphysic co-founder, Chris Umé, is no stranger to stunning his audience. In 2021, he released a series of deepfakes of Tom Cruise on the TikTok account DeepTomCruise. The account features "Cruise" in a series of videos doing wacky things like getting his haircut and leap-frogging over actor Keegan-Michael Key. The videos quickly became a viral sensation.

Now Umé wants to commercialize deepfake technology and make it readily available to anyone in the Metaverse. He hopes his appearance on America's Got Talent will help build a buzz. "This is a good chance to raise awareness and show off what we can do," Umé told The Washington Post.

But some critics say that popularizing deepfakes is dangerous. They worry that bad actors can use the technology to spread lies and disinformation.

According to an MIT Technology report, deepfakes can be "a perfect weapon for purveyors of fake news who want to influence everything from stock prices to elections."

The jury is still out on whether it will influence the final vote on America's Got Talent.

Jonathan Small

Entrepreneur Staff

Founder, Write About Now Media

Jonathan Small is an award-winning author, journalist, producer, and podcast host. For 25 years, he has worked as a sought-after storyteller for top media companies such as The New York Times, Hearst, Entrepreneur, and Condé Nast. He has held executive roles at Glamour, Fitness, and Entrepreneur and regularly contributes to The New York Times, TV Guide, Cosmo, Details, Maxim, and Good Housekeeping. He is the former “Jake” advice columnist for Glamour magazine and the “Guy Guru” at Cosmo.

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