“Why don’t you go join them?” Ozioma asked. Arriving behind Amaka on the balcony, the landlady lit an English brand cigarette, leaned against the railings, and looked down.
“I was the dance queen of our village,” Ozioma continued, her eyes clouding with longing. “I wasn’t trying to brag here, but not a single boy could take his eyes off me. My dad hated it when I danced, however. He threatened to hit me every time he caught me dancing.
“Did you listen to him? “
Ozioma burst out laughing. “Why on earth would a child give up what he loves because his parents told him no?” Finally, I found a way that could at least allow me to finish the dance.
“What was that?” Amaka asked.
“I would wear an Agbogho Mmuo every time I dance.”
“What?Amaka’s eyes widened. The Agbogho Mmuo was the sacred mask of the northern Igbo, representing the virgin spirits as well as the mother of all living creation.
“See, my dad had your exact expression when he saw me with the mask on. He had no choice but to bow down, to show his respect to the mask and the goddess he embodies. Of course, once the dance is over, the mask removed, I will have my share of scolding, ”Ozioma said, beaming with pride, as if the memory had temporarily brought her back to when she was young. girl.
Hearing Ozioma’s story, Amaka felt an idea, hazy and shapeless, flash through his mind like a fish. He frowned thoughtfully. “The mask …”
“Yes, my child. The mask is the source of my power.
“Take off the mask?” Take off the maskAmaka whispered.
Suddenly he jumped to his feet and kissed Ozioma on the cheek. “Thank you, oh thank you, my dance queen! He rushed to his room, leaving behind the hustle and bustle of the parade and a very confused Ozioma.
“Maybe weaving a lie and putting it in FAKA’s mouth won’t make his followers abandon their idol,” Amaka told Chi via video chat that afternoon, excited about his new discovery. “But taking off his mask and revealing the hidden puppeteer might.”
“No one knows who the puppeteer is, however,” Chi replied.
“Exactly!” Amaka beamed. ” You do not see ? This means that the puppeteer can be anybody. “
“So you are suggesting that …”
“I can take FAKA’s mask off and make him the person you want him to be.”
Chi fell silent in the video chat.
“You’re a fucking genius,” Chi finally muttered.
“Hello“Amaka said, preparing to sign.
“Wait,” Chi looked up. “It means you have to create a face that exists in reality.”
“A face that can fool any anti-fake detectors,” Chi added thoughtfully. “Think about color distortion, noise pattern, variation in compression ratio, blink rate, biosignal… is it feasible? “
“I need time,” Amaka said. “And unlimited computing power from AI in the cloud.”
“I’ll get back to you.” Chi has logged out.
Amaka looked at her own reflection on the dim screen of the monitor. The adrenaline rush that had initially overwhelmed him had faded. He didn’t see excitement on his face, but exhaustion and a sense of instability, as if he had betrayed a guardian spirit watching from above.
In theory anyone could fake a perfect picture or video, at least well enough to fool existing anti-fake detectors. The problem was the cost – the computing power.
The scythes and their detectors were engaged in an eternal battle, like Eros and Thanatos. Amaka had his work cut out for him, but he was determined to succeed in achieving his singular goal: the creation of a real human face.