Deep Fakes: Algorithms and Society

Deep Fakes: Algorithms and Society focuses on the use of artificial intelligence technologies to produce fictitious photorealistic audiovisual clips that are indistinguishable from traditional video media.

For over a century, the indexical relationship of the photographic image, and its related media of film and video, to the scene of capture has served as a basis for truth claims. Historically, the iconicity of these images has featured a causal traceback to actual light rays in a particular time and space, which were fixed by chemical reactions or digital sensors to the resultant image. Today, photorealistic audiovisual media can be generated from deep learning networks which sever any connection to an actual event.

Should society instantiate new regimes to manage this new challenge to our sense of reality and the traditional evidential capacities of the ‘mechanical image?’ How do these images generate information disorder while also providing the basis for legitimate tools used in entertainment and creative industries?

Scholars and students from many backgrounds, as well as policy makers, journalists and the general reading public will find a multidisciplinary approach to questions posed by deep fake research from Communication, International Studies, Writing and Rhetoric.

Chapter 1 — “Deep Fakes — Seeing and Not Believing.” by Sean Maher — provides an overview of deep fake technology with a focus on the effects on public trust in media and their significance for journalistic practices, especially in relation to fake news in the post-fact era. New forms of regulation and educational approaches to train citizens for digital literacy are discussed to counter the influence of deep fakes which erode traditional relationships between the public and news media.

Chapter 2 — “Deepfakes and Disinformation in Asia” by Dymples Leong Suying –analyzes deep fakes in the context of national security where they are used as elements of influence campaigns which increase strife in multi-ethnic and multi-religious populations. While the technological innovations that allow for their production cannot be curtailed, the author offers prescriptions for better enabling journalists, policymakers and the general public to become more engaged with the issues they pose.

Chapter 3 — “On the Depth of Fakeness” by Eunsong Kim — reads deep fakes against the film Boxing Helena to highlight how these AI-generated media are used in systems of objectification. A prominent application of this technology has been to victimize women through producing pornographic depictions, which occurs in a general legal context where the rights of those represented in media are often considered to be secondary to the rights of media producers.

This volume is in Routledge’s short form Focus format. As such, the series can be nimble and responsive to fast emerging issues and debates.

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