05/08/2021

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deepfake

The lasting effects of deepfake

deepfake

Make old family photos feel alive. Have Joe Biden or Kim Jung-un sing a song and act infamous Hollywood scenes. Deepfake technology makes this all possible. This is often done using clever software to make or manipulate images, sound, and text. It all sounds quite innocent. Yet this technology carries tons of risks. What about politicians suddenly shouting things they never said in real life? Or when your daughter calls you to transfer money, which later seems to be software.

The technology is now so advanced that the majority of people don’t realize that the pictures are tampered with. That’s consistent with research administered by the University of Amsterdam within the Netherlands. This research also found that these so-called deepfakes can negatively influence opinions. Experts warn of an apocalypse. If this continues, we’ll not be ready to believe our eyes and ears to gauge what’s real.

In the opinion of future tech strategist Mark van Rijmenam, we as a society have a significant problem once we can not tell if videos are real or fake. “Besides the very fact that you simply can not trust the pictures you see, an official also can exploit deepfakes to deny certain statements,” he explains.

Reality or deepfake?

He believes that things haven’t yet reached that time. In many images, we will still see with the eye that they’re manipulations. “Provided you concentrate in fact since images are getting more and more realistic. a bit like other technologies, the up-gradation of deepfake technology is advancing incredibly fast. People will not be ready to tell the difference within one to 3 years,” Van Rijmenam predicts.

Jarno Duursma, a technology expert and author of the report ‘Deepfake technology; the apocalypse‘, isn’t blind to the risks of deepfakes either. Duursma already sees things that are indistinguishable from the important thing. Yet he thinks we overestimate the risks . “The older generation especially remains from a time once they trusted that whatever was within the newspaper was true. With the arrival of social media, suddenly anyone could hurl information into the planet. Including information that’s not true. So we’ve been handling unreliable information on the web for a few time now.”

Recently, scientists at the University at Buffalo released an AI tool that determines with 94 percent certainty whether something maybe a deepfake or not. to attempt this, the model ‘looks’ at the reflection within the eyes, among other things. Both experts agree that it’ll always be a ‘cat and mouse game’ when it involves unmasking deepfakes. But albeit it’s discovered afterward that something may be a deepfake, the damage is often substantial. Van Rijmenam: “Think about the damage to companies’ reputations. Victims deepfake revenge videos whose  family no longer accepts them. Or people that concede to blackmail resulting from manipulated images. Even though it’s clear pretty quickly that these are deepfakes, the damage is already done.”

Not just drawbacks

Besides all the risks, both technology experts believe there also are many upsides to deepfake technology. Van Rijmenam: “Using deepfake technology, you’ll help people recover from their fear of swimming or other fears. By pasting their face onto a video, it implements a sort of memory in their minds. Your brain doesn’t know if it’s true or not. It works similarly as if you were to imagine yourself speaking ahead of thousand people. Then once you actually tread on stage, your brain thinks, ‘I’ve already done this, I can do this!‘”

Duursma is careful: “This still must be researched, we don’t yet know if this is often really how it works in our brain.” Other advantages are more obvious he says: “With deepfake technology, you’ll clone the voices of the voice actors of The Simpsons and continue making episodes long after they have given up the ghost. You’ll bring amazing people that have died back to life. A movie with Elvis Presley? Why not! I even had a digital avatar of myself created that I can use for brief video presentations. It doesn’t work perfectly yet, but it saves tons of your time. I need not record a video of myself. I type the text then the AI system makes a video to travel with it.”