How Deepfakes Might Change the World (Pt. 2)

The other concern experts have about deepfakes, AI generated videos that can look and sound very real, is the speed at which their realism is increasing as evidenced by the viral videos of a deepfaked Tom Cruise covering Dave Matthews Band songs and doing coin flips. These demonstrated the increasing realism of these generated video and audio files.

Neither the Zelensky or Putin videos came close to the quality of Tom Cruise TikTok video. However, currently, one tactic to hide flaws is to use a purposefully low-quality video resolution like that which was used in the Zelensky and Putin videos.

Even if a deepfake is of low quality each one and each increase in quality blurs the line between fact and fiction online, according to experts. Many believe that even a bad deepfake can accomplish the task of planting doubt and obscuring the truth.

Some believe we could cross a line and on the other side is a world in which truth will no longer exist. These experts believe that when you can no longer believe anything you see everything becomes fake. It is not that everything will become true, but one loses confidence in everything. The truth becomes irrelevant in a sea of falsehoods.

Deepfakes Bring Psychological Warfare to the Ukraine (Pt. 1)

Amid the first weeks of Russia’s war in the Ukraine a video of Volodymyr Zelensky surfaced online. He wore a dark green shirt, spoke with purpose and was standing behind a white presidential podium adorned with the Ukraine coat of arms. His body held nearly still while his head and face were quite animated while he spoke.

Part of the speech in the video was as follows. “I ask you to lay down your weapons and go back to your families. This war is not worth dying for. I suggest you to keep on living, and I am going to do the same.”

The video was quickly identified as a “deepfake” – a realistic computer generated video.

Just five years ago deepfakes were not part of the common consciousness. The false but persuasive video and/or audio files are generated with the help of artificial intelligence. Worryingly and unsurprisingly they are now being employed to try to impact the outcome of a war. And it wasn’t just the Zelensky video, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin also went viral. In the video the faux-Putin was declaring peace with the Ukraine.

Experts in propaganda, disinformation and authentication have long worried that deepfakes would be used to sew lies and chaos throughout society. As deepfakes become more realistic the potential for influence and damage increases exponentially.