Deepfake – Terrifying and Amusing the Internet

Deepfake - Terrifying and Amusing the Internet

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Deepfake – Terrifying and Amusing the Internet

In 2021, few videos of actor Tom Cruise were released on TikTok, which presented the AI generated doppelganger of Tom Cruise doing various activities such as teeing off at the golf course, showing off a coin trick etc. These videos went viral and broke the internet. However, none of these videos were real and were deepfake videos.

Numerous such deepfake videos have gone viral recently, giving the loads the first taste of this new technology. Deepfake has gathered broad attention for its use in creating children’s sexual harassment material, celebrity pornographic videos, pornography revenge, fake news, tricks, intimidation, and financial fraud. Deepfakes technology can not only be used to make messages and actions of others but can also be used to revive individuals who died. With a countless no of free deepfake apps that are just a Google search away, anyone can become a victim of such a scam. In another case of deepfake, Kim Kardashian late father Robert Kardashian’s deepfake video was also posted in social media sites.

So what is this Deepfake technology?

In order to answer this, we need to know that Deepfake is a portmanteau of “Deep Learning” and “Fake” which first emerged on the Internet in late 2017 and the first use case to which deepfake technology has been widely used is pornography.

Deepfake - Terrifying and Amusing the Internet
Deepfake – Terrifying and Amusing the Internet

Because of the technology’s widespread approachability, such deepfakes could be created by anyone. And while plenty of deepfakes are created with a very different intent to be comical or entertaining however, such synthetic media(aka deepfakes) can still take on a life of its own as it spreads. In the coming years, the constructive manifestations are likely to be outshone by the technology’s potential role in financial fraud, identity theft and worse-might be from tarnishing of reputations to the fueling of civil and political unrest.

What is the way ahead?

One of the world’s leading experts on deepfakes had stated once: “If we can’t believe the videos, the audios, the image, the information that is gleaned from around the world, that is a serious national security risk”.

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We need to figure out on all fronts be it legislative, political or social steps to defend against deepfakes’ menace. One simple solution is to pass laws that will make it illegal to create or spread deepfakes.

Deepfake - Terrifying and Amusing the Internet
Deepfake – Terrifying and Amusing the Internet

Other solution is to detect deepfakes via machine-learning methods. For example, though the deepfakes appear highly realistic however, the technology is not yet capable of generating natural eye blinking in the impersonated individuals. As such, machine-learning algorithms have been trained to detect deepfakes using eye-blinking patterns. This can be a success in a short run but it is only a while where people will come up with solutions to evade such systems.

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Few startups have also emerged that offer software to defend against deepfakes, including Truepic and Deeptrace.

We need to rely on the technology itself to fend us from the muddle it helped create.

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