This blog post is brought to you by Dana Sharman, Account Coordinator, MAVERICK.
We all know the age-old saying, “seeing is believing.” Well, it’s taken on a whole new meaning with advancements in digital media manipulation. Now with technology it’s easier than ever to create fake videos and we’ve seen an explosion of them on YouTube and other video streaming platforms.
Take this video of Barack Obama for example, which shows the former President delivering a speech he’s never actually given. It is one of many examples of the new video trend “Deepfake,” which has made it near impossible to decipher what is real and what is not.
Deepfake has become the internet’s latest moral crisis. The technology is fairly easy to use, allowing almost anyone to create a video using someone else’s face without their consent. This is becoming a significant problem, especially in the porn industry, as a surge of fake sex tapes have been surfacing using celebrity faces with stars Emma Watson and Gal Gadot being the most high-profile victims.
The path forward isn’t clear. At this time, there isn’t much legal recourse for those falling prey to this new technology, as the technology has outpaced the creation of laws against this practice.
Is there any upside to this technology? As unexpected as it may seem, facial recognition does prove to have some benefits. Perhaps one day it will lead us to that perfect real-time face swap on Snapchat we’ve always wanted. Because let’s be honest, it could be better…
Looking beyond its Snapchat advantages, the perfection of the face-swap could have many alternate uses. Doctors have speculated the possibility of utilizing the technology for video-conducted job interviews, claiming that it could help remove gender and racial bias for hiring. They even see potential for it to help soldiers dealing with PTSD as it could let individuals video-conference with doctors with a generic model. This would allow them to convey their emotions without revealing their identity, which may encourage those who are deterred by a perceived stigma to seek care.
Although these theories seem farfetched now, it’s hard to know where the future of Deepfakes will take us. What we do know is this phenomenon has taken over the internet.