When Adobe Photoshop first debuted, it looked like magic. The ability to seamlessly alter photos gave graphic designers a life-changing tool, but it wasn’t long before users started to use the product for more nefarious purposes. By now, Photoshop (and “Photoshopping,” it’s adapted verb version) has become shorthand for speaking about any manipulated photo.
What happens when Photoshop (or programs like it) becomes so advanced that it’s nearly impossible to spot a fake? What if there wasn’t a way to easily point out that something had been doctored or substantially altered because only a minority of people knew the manipulation was even possible? This is the case with Adobe VoCo, a program that allows users to edit voices — and not just the pitch or speed, but also what someone has said. Beyond just rearranging words in a voice recording, Adobe VoCo can make a person “say” something they never said at all.
Adobe also seems well aware of the risks involved. The company has not yet released a beta of VoCo for download, and as of late 2017, it was still testing and developing the program.