Young at art: How Hollywood shaved 46 years off Robert De Niro’s ...

World

Young at art: How Hollywood shaved 46 years off Robert De Niro’s life

Al Pacino and Will Smith have also been digitally de-aged using tech that’s a little unnerving in its seamlessness

Robbie Collin

During a live online broadcast a couple of months ago, the fabulously named Chinese video blogger known as Your Highness Qiao Biluo noticed her viewer count suddenly plummet. The falling numbers caught Qiao’s eye because her admirers on the YouTube-like streaming platform Douyu had previously been nothing if not ardent.

In a little over 30 days she had built a six-figure following of mostly male fans, who seemed to be hooked on her soothing voice and delicate, girlish features. A leaderboard kept track of financial gifts from her fondest admirers, one of whom had sent Qiao more than £11,000 (R204,700) since her vlogging career began in mid-June. (This is common practice – people often tip performers to highlight their comments.)

This cash flow, however, was about to dry up. Qiao had been broadcasting all along with the aid of a beauty camera: an application popular in China that uses artificial intelligence algorithms to lighten skin, darken hair, pinken lips, widen eyes, and otherwise align users’ faces more closely with the country’s traditional feminine ideal. And it had just malfunctioned mid-broadcast, unmasking the petite young online idol as a fairly heavy-set 58-year-old woman...

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