“DeepFake” technology, ie the ability to digitally manipulate or wholly fabricate a person’s identity and puppeteer their actions & expressions, has been in existence AND right in our faces for decades. Only now do we have the capacity to comprehend the scope of the applications.
Deepfakes use a form of artificial intelligence called deep learning to make images of fake events, hence the name deepfake.
film-makers have been dreaming about this interface since the earliest days of cinema. In the 1924 comedy Sherlock Jr, Buster Keaton played a projectionist who enters the flickering on-screen action, while the traffic flowed in both directions in Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo and the Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle Last Action Hero, in which characters were able to step on and off the cinema screen at will.
Recently, we may have seen some of our friends on social media place their faces on famous movie actors. This a deepfake video by Zao.
The AI firm Deeptrace found 15,000 deepfake videos online in September 2019, a near doubling over nine months. A staggering 96% were pornographic and 99% of those mapped faces from female celebrities on to porn stars.
The more insidious impact of deepfakes, along with other synthetic media and fake news, is to create a zero-trust society, where people cannot, or no longer bother to, distinguish truth from falsehood. And when trust is eroded, it is easier to raise doubts about specific events.
Last year, Cameroon’s minister of communication dismissed as fake news a video that Amnesty International believes shows Cameroonianthe country’s soldiers executing civilians.
When we looked into the generated pictures of JonBenét Patricia Ramsey which are possible fakes using generative adversarial networks (GANs), the old videos have her ‘beauty pageants’ comes to mind. Were they generated also? Is JonBenét Patricia Ramsey the first real deep fake?