Social Media Could Be in Deep for Fakes

Photo of Kat Kuda

BY Kat Kuda

August 8, 2019

Digital

Digital technology is ever-changing and always advancing. This is great for humanity. It creates efficient, unique answers to current challenges. The internet—and specifically social media—has permanently changed how we communicate and gather information.

But not all of these changes are positive. The United States government is fighting a new technological threat—deepfakes.

Deepfakes are videos that have been engineered to make someone appear to say or do something that they never said or did. It’s likely that you have watched a deepfake without even knowing it. Deepfake software is similar to Photoshop, but it is far more advanced, using AI to manipulate videos. In short, computers can take a headshot and superimpose a face onto another video or image—all seamless to the naked eye.

Deepfakes have risen in popularity because the software is cheap, and anyone can use it. This poses a grave concern.

With the 2020 elections ahead, government agencies are on high alert for how deepfake videos of political candidates and others may interfere in the political landscape. CNN provides a deep dive in understanding the real concern deepfakes possess and how these agencies are taking action.

The future of social media could be at risk if users can’t believe what they are viewing. Another concern is that people can accuse a video of being a fake when in fact, it isn’t. According to the Guardian’s Danielle Citron, “When nothing is true then the dishonest person will thrive by saying what’s true is fake.” And political candidates aren’t the only targets—any brand or person may face personal experiences with a deepfake.

Deepfake technology is amazing if used in the correct context. For example, the same technology used for deepfakes is now being applied to help detect cancer at an earlier stage. At the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, Salvador Dalí actually welcomes and informs visitors about his life and works of art. The Verge explains that “the exhibition, called Dalí Lives, was made in collaboration with the ad agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners (GS&P), which made a life-size re-creation of Dali using the machine learning-powered video editing technique. Using archival footage from interviews, GS&P pulled over 6,000 frames and used 1,000 hours of machine learning to train the AI algorithm on Dalí’s face.”

We know that AI and digital technology are here to stay. It’s important to remind ourselves to be skeptical of what we see, even when it’s shared by friends in the social media world. Don’t believe everything you hear OR see.

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Photo of Kat Kuda

BY Kat Kuda

August 8, 2019

Digital