Daily Express

Vlad the imposter

Moment stunned Putin meets AI ‘deepfake’... who wants to know if Kremlin despot uses rumoured body doubles

- By Mark Reynolds

VLADIMIR Putin was left speechless when he came face-to-face with an artificial intelligen­ce “deep fake” of himself – which asked if he used body doubles.

A student from Saint Petersburg State University, who constructe­d the visual and audio likeness, asked the real Kremlin chief, 71, to share his thoughts on the dangers of AI.

To laughter from the Moscow audience yesterday, the double said: “Vladimir Vladimirov­ich, hello... I would like to ask you, is it true that you have many doppelgang­ers?”

The student then added: “How do you view the dangers that artificial intelligen­ce and neural networks bring into our lives?” It prompted a rare hesitation from Putin, whose eyes widened when he saw the digital body double flash up on screen.

Then he said: “I see you may resemble me and speak with my voice. But I have thought about it and decided that only one person must be like me and speak with my voice... and that will be me!”

And, keen to dispel rumours of doppelgang­ers, Putin added: “By the way, this is my first double.”

The encounter happened during the Russian president’s annual marathon press conference, which this year let selected members of the public ask him questions.

In a defiant swipe at the West during the four-hour event, Putin also declared there would no peace in Ukraine until Moscow achieved its invasion goals. However, he was humiliated when some messages telling him to quit were mistakenly displayed on screens behind him.

Other questions asked about the “reality” of Russia and the Kremlin’s tactics in Ukraine. At times, Putin struggled to answer, saying: “Of course you’re right that things don’t always work.The frontline is almost 2,000km long. Of course not everything is delivered everywhere on time.”

He also conceded a number of people “close to me” had died in the war, which began in February 2022. State media said two million questions had been sent for Putin.

Some, which came by text, flashed on screens in the hall – and not all were in keeping with the heavily choreograp­hed event.

One urged Putin: “Don’t run for another term as president.” Another said “Why is your ‘reality’ at odds with our lived reality?”.

Despite the embarrassm­ent, Putin ploughed on. When TV anchor Pavel Zarubin asked “When will there be peace?”, he replied: “There will be peace when we achieve our goals.

“They haven’t changed. DeNazifica­tion of Ukraine, the demilitari­sation of Ukraine.”

Putin also claimed Western aid for Ukraine was running out and Russia

‘Only one person must be like me and speak with my voice’

‘There will be peace when we achieve our goals’

was winning the war. He said: “Practicall­y along the entire line of contact, our armed forces are improving their situation, to put it modestly.”

Putin also said there would be no further conscripti­on as around 486,000 people had signed up voluntaril­y as contract soldiers.

Meanwhile, the European Union is to open accession talks with Ukraine and Moldova, the bloc’s 27 countries announced yesterday.

EC President Charles Michel called it “a clear signal of hope for their people and our continent”.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said the decision was “a victory for Ukraine. A victory for all of Europe”.

 ?? ?? Double take...Putin, top, is nonplussed by AI version at conference, above
Double take...Putin, top, is nonplussed by AI version at conference, above

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom