A new phenomenon has appeared across the internet in 2019: “deepfake” videos.
The term deepfake originated as a synthesis of “deep learning” and “fake”. The creators of these videos use AI to alter the face of the person in the video or synthesize a new face onto a different person. They can make anyone say just about anything. Cool or creepy? I’ll let you decide for yourself…
At first, the deepfake videos that popped up were generally goofy, like this montage of Nicolas Cage’s face added onto various iconic movie and TV characters:
The Friends clip gets me every time. Obviously, this innocuous type of deepfake content is just adding to the endless realm of “kinda weird but funny” content one can find on the web. Nothing wrong with that, right?
Another deepfake video recently went viral after the conclusion of Game of Thrones:
(Psst: There’s a little bit of NSFW language at the end of this one.)
Clearly, the editing isn’t perfect in this one—you can tell the area around Jon Snow’s mouth has been modified. This is just for fun, so there’s no harm here. But what if deepfake videos are used for political gain or manipulation of the masses?
Recently, a deepfake video of Mark Zuckerberg surfaced in which he calmly admits to using people’s activity on Facebook to gather data about them, ending with the chilling phrase “the more you express yourself, the more we own you.”
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‘Imagine this…’ (2019) Mark Zuckerberg reveals the truth about Facebook and who really owns the future… see more @sheffdocfest VDR technology by @cannyai #spectreknows #privacy #democracy #surveillancecapitalism #dataism #deepfake #deepfakes #contemporaryartwork #digitalart #generativeart #newmediaart #codeart #markzuckerberg #artivism #contemporaryart
Creepy, right? And this one looks pretty real, too. The average person who is unaware of the deepfake trend could easily believe that this is a real video of Zuckerberg.
These days, even major politicians are getting involved in the deepfake world: Donald Trump recently tweeted a doctored deepfake video of Nancy Pelosi stuttering and slurring over her words.
“PELOSI STAMMERS THROUGH NEWS CONFERENCE” pic.twitter.com/1OyCyqRTuk
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 24, 2019
Now the question is, where do we go from here? Should we expect viewers to be vigilant about determining if the content they see is real, or should the social media giants control the flow of real content, blocking deepfake videos?
In a world obsessed with media, politics, and the web, deepfake videos add a whole new level of complexity to the issue of fake news. Have a prediction about the future of deepfake content? Share it with us below!