STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.
Did a new robot designed and built by a robotics company in Japan, known as STN-YGF, arrive in the United States to serve and protect citizens? No, that's not true: This video has been edited to include computer-generated imagery (CGI). The original unedited video footage was filmed on August 10, 2021. It showed President Joe Biden disembarking from the Marine One helicopter and walking across the lawn to the White House. This edited video has substituted a CGI robot model for Biden. The CGI images of the robot mimic the movements and gestures Biden makes in the original video.
The Sun posted a video of Biden, filmed on August 10, 2021, to YouTube. That video was edited and its revision first posted on TikTok by @yudi.senpai on June 16, 2023. This video creator has made a playlist of five videos titled "Age of Robots" that incorporate edits of robot guests meeting world leaders. The watermark in the upper right corner of the video, "Senpai NEWS," echoes the creator's handle. Text captions on the video name Ohio as the location for the first tests. The original post was captioned:
This Ohio Robot Is A Real Deal 💀 #fyp #ai #airobot #robot #artificialintelligence #artificial
A copy of the TikTok video was posted on Facebook on June 24, 2023. It was captioned:
I must be loosing my fookin mind , Joe Biden done made a deal with cobra commander.
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Jun 27 17:15:55 2023 UTC)
The text captioning added to the video reads:
A new robot has arrived in the United States and has been hired to serve and protect citizens. The robot, known as the STN-YGF, was designed and built by a team of engineers from a leading robotics company based in Japan. The first test will take place in Ohio next year.
The Facebook post makes a joking reference to Cobra Commander, the fictional Marvel Comics arch-enemy of the G.I. Joe team. In the original comics, the character was styled with a full face shield or hood and blue uniform, but in live-action adaptations, such as the 2013 G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Cobra Commander wears black and has a helmet face shield similar to the head of the STN-YGF robot.
A Google reverse image search for the robots featured in Senpai's videos pointed to a digital artist, Pablo Castaño. Lead Stories reached out to Castaño and he replied by email on June 28, 2023. Castaño is one of the artists working with Wonder Dynamics -- the developers of an AI tool called Wonder Studio. Castaño designed the free template character appearing in Senpai's video, and he thinks Senpai is a beta tester of the Wonder Studio. He described the tool:
Wonder Studio is an AI tool that enables artists to create films with CGI with a few simple clicks of a button. Wonder Studio's AI analyzes the footage from a single camera and captures many elements, including the actors' performances, lighting, compositing, camera motion, etc. Then, it automatically animates, lights and composes the CG character directly into the live-action scene. Through drag and drop, users can instantly insert characters into scenes.
The YouTube video posted by The Sun is titled, "Bumbling Biden 'gets lost' on way to White House after ignoring Secret Service agent." The footage that was used in the robot video showed Biden disembarking from Marine One before the gaffe happened. Later in the clip Biden seemed to be confused about which White House entrance door he was supposed to use. A Secret Service agent pointed to the intended walkway, but Biden followed the agent instead.
The scene of the gaffe was not duplicated by the CGI robot. In the composite image below (will open larger in a new window) a selection of stills from both videos are paired to show how closely the robot graphics follow the gestures Biden made as he walked across the lawn.
(Image source: Lead Stories composite image with YouTube and TikTok screenshots taken on Tue Jun 27 20:01:20 2023 UTC)
2023-06-28T19:13:41Z 2023-06-28T19:13:41ZAdds quotes from digital artist Pablo Castaño.