The World of Deepfakes (1)

Should we be afraid?

Image used from Wired

What if a person had the ability to impersonate your physical traits and voice? With the current artificial intelligence technology, a person’s face can be replaced with somebody else’s. This technology creates videos known as deepfakes, an AI-based software that creates hyper realistic videos that present something that didn’t happen. The reason why it became viral was because of a Reddit user by the username “deepfakes”, posted hyper realistic videos of celebrities on pornographic videos.

Why the Interest in Topic?

Screenshot from Vox

The world of AI technology has grown immensely. I watched a video on YouTube of Barack Obama saying, “We’re entering an era in which our enemies can make it look like anyone is saying anything at any point in time.” But it wasn’t Obama saying these words, it was actor and comedian Jordan Peele impersonating his voice. For a moment I believed Obama was saying these things. The fact that almost anyone can impersonate his voice is daunting. At first, I was intrigued by the abilities artificial intelligence can mimic our autonomy however, I began to realize how scary it can be if it were used with bad intentions. The AI technology used old videos of Barack Obama and synced it to make it match Jordan Peele’s words. People probably couldn’t even tell if it was someone else’s voice if they were watching it for the first time.

Social media platforms can make anything go viral. I believe deepfakes should have further exploration because of how accessible the technology is, how easy it is to learn how to do it, and the consequences if it were to get into the wrong hands. Even though they were originally used for putting celebrity faces on pornographic videos, the advancement of this technology could be used for creating fake news or hoaxes. Deepfakes can also cause a privacy issue because the person who is being used to mimic does not have the ability to consent to their digital autonomy.

The Dark Side of Deepfakes

Image from Motherboard Vice

Apps that use deepfake technology create an outlet for anyone to learn how to use it for themselves. In the New York Times article, Here Come the Fake Videos,Too by Kevin Roose, he discusses the accessibility to this technology. Roose begins by discussing the discovery of deepfakes. It was originally used for putting celebrity faces on pornographic videos but can potentially be used in political sabotage and propaganda. The author then explains the steps on how to make a deepfake and how accessible this technology is by exploring deepfake apps for himself. Even though the apps aren’t as smooth as the real software, he shows surprisingly scary results. Roose reaches out to the creator of FakeApp, an app that creates deepfake videos, and they believe that this technology shouldn’t be completely shut down even though it could be used for good or bad. I understand that we are trying to advance in our technology, but we should also think about the consequences that can come with it. There should be a limit as to how we could use it and who has access to it.

Image from The Next Web

The advancement of deepfake technology could potentially create a chaotic environment in politics. In the Washington Post article, This new technology could send American politics into a tailspin by Ben Sasse, he discusses how deepfakes can be used in American politics. Sasse illustrates hypothetical scenarios to explain how deepfake technology has become so realistic that it’s getting difficult to detect them. The author then explains how a U.S intelligence official believes that deepfake technology could be used to create political chaos. He states three reasons why this technology is perfect to create political chaos. One idea Sasse suggests to prevent the potential catastrophic use of deepfakes is to simply try to get ahead in this type of AI technology. Deepfake technology could create tension between political parties, countries, etc depending on what the person makes the fake video say. We live in a society where people tend to believe what they see on the internet. If a deepfake video were to be created to hurt a politician’s reputation and people believed it, what would we do?

Thoughts

The world of AI technology is advancing more and more everyday. I think that the use of deepfakes should be taken more seriously because of the different ways it could be used. The fact that people like myself can easily access deepfake apps, anyone can tarnish a person’s autonomy by mimicking their mannerisms to do what they want. Because there is no law behind deepfake technology and how viral they can get, it doesn’t protect people’s privacy and can affect their lives negatively. Deepfakes are only one type of AI technology that can be used to mimic human behavior and physical characteristics. Could deepfake videos get out of hand? Will there be a price to pay if used with bad intentions?

Works Cited

Roose, Kevin. “Here Come the Fake Videos, Too.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 5 Mar. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/03/04/technology/fake-videos-deepfakes.html.

Sasse, Ben. “This New Technology Could Send American Politics into a Tailspin.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 19 Oct. 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-real-scary-news-about-deepfakes/2018/10/19/6238c3ce-d176-11e8-83d6-291fcead2ab1_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.f5fbab741fab.