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A murdered grime star has been brought ‘back to life’ using deepfake AI technology in a new music video to warn against the dangers of knife crime.

Joshua Emmanuel Ribera, performing as Depzman, was stabbed to death outside a Selly Oak nightclub in Birmingham in September 2013. He was just 18-years-old. 

His mother, Alison Cope, is a prominent anti-knife campaigner and head of the Joshua Ribera Foundation. 

She worked with Jamal Edwards, before his death in February 2022, and various other artists and performers to recreate the rising grime star.

The video uses deepfake technology to tell Depzman’s story through a new song called Life Cut Short, describing his childhood, his career and the night that he died.

A murdered grime star has been brought 'back to life' using deepfake AI technology in a new music video to warn against the dangers of knife crime

A murdered grime star has been brought 'back to life' using deepfake AI technology in a new music video to warn against the dangers of knife crime

A murdered grime star has been brought ‘back to life’ using deepfake AI technology in a new music video to warn against the dangers of knife crime

Joshua Emmanuel Ribera, performing as Depzman, was stabbed to death outside a Selly Oak nightclub in Birmingham in September 2013. He was just 18-years-old

Joshua Emmanuel Ribera, performing as Depzman, was stabbed to death outside a Selly Oak nightclub in Birmingham in September 2013. He was just 18-years-old

Joshua Emmanuel Ribera, performing as Depzman, was stabbed to death outside a Selly Oak nightclub in Birmingham in September 2013. He was just 18-years-old

His mother, Alison Cope, is a prominent anti-knife campaigner and head of the Joshua Ribera Foundation

His mother, Alison Cope, is a prominent anti-knife campaigner and head of the Joshua Ribera Foundation

His mother, Alison Cope, is a prominent anti-knife campaigner and head of the Joshua Ribera Foundation

‘When they played it to me for the first time, I was devastated. I just sobbed and sobbed,’ Alison told ITV Central

‘It just felt like he was real. It felt like he was there and I could reach in and bring him back but obviously I can’t. 

‘I just cried and cried and cried and then I just thought “wow” this is amazing and this is going to achieve everything I hope it does.’

She told MailOnline: ‘I knew that we had to do this campaign because it is such an important subject that is not getting any better in this country. 

‘It was hard, but I pushed through and thought “let’s do this”.’

Deepfakes are so named because they are made using deep learning, a form of artificial intelligence, to create fake videos of a target individual.

They are made by feeding a computer an algorithm, or set of instructions, as well as lots of images and audio of the target person.

She worked with Jamal Edwards, before his death in February 2022, and various other artists and performers to recreate the rising grime star

She worked with Jamal Edwards, before his death in February 2022, and various other artists and performers to recreate the rising grime star

She worked with Jamal Edwards, before his death in February 2022, and various other artists and performers to recreate the rising grime star

The video uses deepfake technology to tell Depzman’s story through a new song called Life Cut Short, describing his childhood, his career and the night that he died

The video uses deepfake technology to tell Depzman’s story through a new song called Life Cut Short, describing his childhood, his career and the night that he died

The video uses deepfake technology to tell Depzman’s story through a new song called Life Cut Short, describing his childhood, his career and the night that he died

The computer program then learns how to mimic the person’s facial expressions, mannerisms, voice and inflections.

The video, released on SBTV, has since gone viral receiving more than 185,000 views on YouTube.

It also has more than a million views on TikTok and has been shared by rappers Jaykae, JME and Skepta. 

Commenting on about it going viral, Alison told MailOnline: ‘I’m just really proud and overwhelmed by the response. It is everything I hoped for and more to be honest. 

‘I was hoping that it would have a stir, but I didn’t actually expect to be getting all the messages and comments. 

‘Seeing youth clubs use it, organisations and parents talk about it. It’s a crazy response.’

This week, it will be played on prison TVs in 65 prisons around the UK. 

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