What Are Deepfakes – Major Opportunities and Threats

New path-breaking digital technologies are being introduced into our daily lives with amazing speed. Some of these make it increasingly difficult to differentiate between real and fake media. Among more recent development adding to the problem is the emergence of deepfakes.

What is Deepfake Technology?

Deepfakes are hyper-realistic videos. They leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to portray an individual as saying and doing things that, in reality, never happened. Considering social media’s tremendous reach and incredible speed, these craftily made deepfakes can quickly reach millions of people. It also can impact society negatively if the creator has made these videos with ulterior motives.

The game-changing factor of deepfakes is the sophistication, scale, and scope of the technology involved. Practically anyone with a computer can create fabricated fake videos. The scary part also is that these videos are virtually indistinguishable from genuine media.

How Does Deepfake Technology Work?

The disruptive technology of deepfake videos is digitally manipulated to illustrate people as saying and doing things that never happened. Deepfakes leverage the power of neural networks. So, they scrutinize huge volumes of data samples to study a person’s facial expressions, gestures, voice, and other nuances.

The footage of two people is fed into the deep learning algorithm to train it to swap faces. Deepfakes use facial mapping technology and AI to swap a person’s face on video into another person. 

Deepfakes use real footage and hence are difficult to detect. The audio sounds authentic. Individuals and computers optimize the videos to go viral on social media quickly. Ordinary viewers assume that the video they are looking at is genuine. 

The early deepfakes had a doctored look to them. However, rapid and significant technological advances have made it harder to tell a real video from a fake. Like all other technologies, deepfakes have undergone a major development curve on the path to realizing their full potential. With algorithms improving, video makers need less source material to produce a more accurate deepfake.

What are the Benefits of Deepfake Technology?

While deepfake videos are slammed for their nefarious intent, the technology creates many benefits too. Various industries use it too, including education, films, digital communications, social media, healthcare, applied sciences, gaming, e-commerce, entertainment, etc.

Deepfake Technology in the Film-Making Industry

The use of deepfake technology increased dramatically in the film industry over the years. 

  • The technology is used for composing digital sounds for actors who are unable to lend their voice to dubbing for various reasons. 
  • It also comes in handy in updating any portion of the footage of a film. 
  • Producers can save huge sums spent on reshooting. 
  • Filmmakers can now recreate the traditional scenes in movies. 
  • They can even produce new movies for fans of popular actors who have passed away. 

Deepfake technology can help create stunning special effects and featured-face editing. It is a highly useful tool for post-production work, certainly. It also can help enhance video quality more professionally. 

Deepfake Technology In The Gaming/Entertainment Industry

Deepfake technology is the perfect gift for players and developers in the gaming industry. Because the technology enables users to play multiplayer games and engage in virtual chats. Their natural-sounding and smart assistance features of them help create digital twins of people effortlessly. They also present similarly in virtual reality. Indeed, it boosts human relationships and assists in improved online interaction.

Other Applications

Digital businesses are becoming easier and more efficient with the application of deepfake technology. It has the potential to transform the shape and functioning of major industries such as e-commerce and advertising. Popular brands can use the technology to tie up with supermodels. These brands craft fake models to appear like real ones using deepfake technology.  

They can display their fashion outfits on popular models. They can change the skin colors, weight, body structure, and heights of models for a greater variety of displays. So, by using deepfake, they can generate targeted fashion ads in tune with the trends and needs of their audience. Online clothing businesses also can benefit hugely from the technology. 

Threats of Deepfake Technology

With the increasing sophistication of deepfake technologies, their future applications can be potentially terrifying. 

Missing Context

Using deepfake technology, content can be edited in any way. It can be represented out of context and is misleading. Missing context can be in the form of misrepresentation and isolation.

In misrepresentation, the information presents erroneously and deceitfully. For instance, videos showing one country attacking another from an entirely different conflict years earlier present in a different context.

An example of isolation is when a small clip is taken out of a longer video. The core context is removed to create a false narrative of the events.

Deceptive Editing

There are two forms of deceptive editing. 

In omission, they edit out various portions of a video. The rest presents as a complete narrative.

In splicing, two videos combine to alter the core narrative intensely. Commonly people use them for interviews. So, the audio of the interviewee moves elsewhere in the clip to create a drastically different narrative.

Use in Criminal Activity

Deepfakes have become more realistic, and they are becoming faster to make. That creates a major problem because they are a powerful tool for weaponization.

Audio deepfake to create synthetic voices means another tool for criminals. 

Conclusion

Deepfake is a remarkable technology that can provide practical, real-life applications. Yet, we have seen that most of its recent uses are deceitful. Indeed, with enhanced technology, this platform’s misuse is increasing daily. So, users must check the originality of everything they see, hear or browse online. In the deepfake world, it is vital to define the legitimacy of every piece of information spread via media.