Will Deepfakes lead to doomsday?

Over the past several years the AI technology known as “deepfakes” have become a noticeable threat to the future. People fear that this tech will be used to create chaos and could potentially lead to wars. For now, no real issues have arisen that have caused any national panic, but celebrities and other unsuspecting victims have found their faces being superimposed on the bodies of porn actors. According to research lab, Deep Trace, that are dedicated to looking into the world of deepfakes, there are over 14,678 deepfake videos online, 96% of them being pornographic. Clearly, the technology is not currently being used to cause mass destruction or political disarray on any level, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. Most of the victims to deepfakes of all kinds are Western subjects, but this technology is not just a Western phenomenon. Other videos that use deepfakes of political figures or well-known players in the business world are typically parodies of the subject.

While the current market of deepfakes videos seems to be juvenile and used to fulfill some tech geniuses fantasy, what makes the future so scary is how easy the creation is becoming. Deep Trace found that average users are able to experiment and come up with different algorithms and versions of these videos. These are then being created into reusable codes and transferred with tools a non-expert could navigate. Niche websites like Github, 4chan, and 8chan are examples of there communities of deepfake creators are popping up. While, these parties typically use the software for nonsense work like turning Seth Rogan into Christian Bale seamlessly while doing an interview, there will always be a fear that it will turn into malicious and harmful intentions, like propaganda. George Patrini, leader of Deep Trace lab’s, stated, “And the idea of deepfakes alone is enough to destabilize political processes.”

I have increasingly become aware of the concept and use of deepfakes as I take different media courses over the years and I have become more and more alerted by their potential uses. I have seen stories break where random women have found their face used in porn videos and other celebrities facing the same issues, and while not necessarily a world threatening issue, it is violating and unsettling. I then later saw an example of a deepfake being used on a video of President Donald Trump that made it seem like he was reciting a string of degrading nonsense sentences. While this was supposed to be for comedy I became worried by the idea of someone creating a fake charged with political propaganda that could cause war or worse. Luckily nothing of that nature has been done, but with the political climate becoming increasingly unsteady you never know what people will do.

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