🔐 Premium: The rise of deepfakes has given us many funny and light-hearted movies. However, there's a darker side to the generative AI that creates a false reality which is hard to see if fake. New evidence provides a frightening reminder of the flip side to the emerging tech.
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The use of Deepfakes in propaganda
The use of deepfakes for the purpose of spreading state-aligned propaganda has recently been discovered. For the first time.
This was always going to happen and now we have evidence indicating a worrying shift in the way disinformation is going to be created, used and distributed. The evidence comes from Graphika, a research organisation that studies disinformation. They discovered multiple videos on various platforms by bot accounts and featured American news anchors from “Wolf News” siding with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). At least one of the videos has since been removed from Facebook for policy violations and the accounts responsible for the videos have been banned.
This case has raised important questions about the implications of deepfakes for propagandistic usage, and the need for government and industry collaboration to combat the issue.
What are Deepfakes?
Deepfakes are synthetic media in which a person in an existing image or video is replaced with someone else's likeness. Models that generate deepfakes are specifically trained on datasets of human faces and speech to generate realistic videos of an individual saying things they have never uttered. These generative models have recently been used in the creative industry, for instance Kendrick Lamar used it in a music video and an Indian political party used it to communicate with voters in different languages.
Deepfakes have also been used for more controversial purposes, such as when a Chinese company used it to make Donald Trump appear to speak Mandarin.