…or everything you see, either!
Last July I wrote this post about a new (and dangerous) technology called “deepfakes.” Last night on Samantha Bee’s special, “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” she, too, did a segment about the potential divisive impacts of this technology. Below is a video clip from her show. And below that is my original post from last July.
Did you hear about this?
“New technology makes it alarmingly easy to make realistic videos of people saying and doing things they’ve never done.”
This is not fake news! It’s apparently true. There is new technology, a sophisticated type of software, that makes it possible to superimpose one person’s face onto another’s body and manipulate voice recordings, creating fake videos that look and sound real.
While Hollywood studios have long used computer-generated imagery (CGI) to create, for example, fleeting appearances of dead actors, the process was prohibitively expensive and laborious. Today, the technology, known as “deepfakes,” has improved so much so that highly realistic visual and audio fakery can be produced by anyone with a powerful home computer.
Apparently deepfakes technology has already sparked an explosion of fake pornography online, with Michelle Obama, Ivanka Trump, and Emma Watson among those most frequently victimized. (I can’t personally corroborate this, but I’m sure if you wish to, you can probably do a Google search for “deepfakes porn” and see for yourself.)
Fears are growing, however, over how else “deepfakes” videos could be used — from smearing politicians in elections to inciting major international conflict.
Earlier this year, BuzzFeed created a “public service announcement” warning of the technology’s dangers, with a deepfakes of former President Barack Obama voiced by the comedian and director Jordan Peele.
In that deepfakes, the fake Obama said, “We’re entering an era in which our enemies can make it look like anyone is saying anything.” To illustrate the point, the fake Obama goes on to call President Trump “a total and complete dipshit.”
This technology uses facial mapping and artificial intelligence to produce. Lawmakers and intelligence officials worry that these deepfakes could be used to threaten national security or interfere in elections. Politicians of both parties are concerned that this high-tech way of putting words into someone’s mouth will become the latest weapon in disinformation wars against the United States and other Western democracies.
It kinda makes you question whether technology is a good thing or a bad thing, doesn’t it?