Deepfakes: 21 years since Cage-Travolta, we have a real Face/Off problem here
Washington, July 5: They say cameras never fake. But with the advancement of technology with each passing day, even that proposition is under threat. Thanks to the deepfakes.
Deepfakes are more troublesome than simple fake photos or statements for they create an entirely animated fake profile of a person to show that he/she is saying or indulging in things that they would never do otherwise.
What is a deepfake?
It's a sophisticated software through which it is possible to superimpose one person's face onto another's body and add it with voice and videos to make it look real. It was once an expensive mechanism used in films to make dead actors 'alive' but today, the technology has become so advanced and affordable that anybody can create the fake moving profiles at home.
This software has already been put to use to create fake celebrity pornography but imagine what could happen if it is used to create images of politicians and statesmen uttering provocative words against nations and communities?
Already, a deepfake of former US president Barack Obama has made the rounds saying controversial things. For the mischief-makers, this technology gives them enough ammunition to spark a massive trouble and allow people fight between themselves without anybody having an iota of idea as to who is actually behind the foul play.
Deepfakes first made celebrities the victims by showing them indulging in explicit sex in real-looking videos. Besides, they have also been used in spoofs and parody videos. But the risk factor multiplies several times when the same is applied in the political domain.
This use of artificial intelligence to create deepfakes can potentially damage the society irreversibly. People can be provoked, fuelled; nations can be taken to wars and worse, it can turn people cynic to the extent that they do not even trust authentic videos.
The only way to tackle the potential menace is by training a counter artificial intelligence to identify deepfakes and remove them before they cause a big damage.
The clock is ticking. We were hesitant to trust our eyes while seeing the cat and mouse fight between Nicolas Cage and John Travolta in the epic 1997 science fiction film Face/Off.
Two decades since then, it is a real face-off in our lives and it is not an entertaining situation.