Video: Police use deepfake to ask for information on 13-year-old's murder in 2003
The police used deepfake technology to "resurrect" a killed 13-year-old boy in an appeal for information about his murder in 2003. In the video broadcast on Sunday, Sedar Soares is shown on a football field, walking past everyone who knew him, and asking for information about the people who killed him. His sister did the voice-over for the video.
Sedar was shot dead in the parking lot of the Slinge subway station in Rotterdam on 1 February 2003, while he was throwing snowballs with his friends. For years, the police thought the boy was killed by an angry motorist whose car was hit by a snowball. But now, they believe that Sedar was an innocent and unintended victim of a rip deal - a drug deal in which one party intends to leave with both money and drugs.
According to the police, this is the first time in the world that a deep fake has been used in an investigation in this way. The police hope to prompt witnesses to come forward 19 years after the murder by touching their hearts, said Daan Annegarn of the National Investigation Communication Team at the police.
"We know better and better how cold cases can be solved. Science shows that it works to hit witnesses and the perpetrator in the heart," Annegarn said. "What better way to do that than to let Sedar and his family do the talking. We had to cross a threshold. It is not easy to ask relatives: Can I bring your loved one to life in a deepfake video? We are convinced that it contributes to the investigation, but we haven't done it before. The family has to fully support it."