If you saw Mario from Super Mario Bros, Reality Tv personality “Big Ed”, and Elon Musk CEO of Space Ex, singing in the same choir with your own eyes would you believe it? While this has never happened in real life, there is a deepfake video where they (and many other personalities) team up and harmonize and sing side by side.

A deepfake, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, is “an image or recording that has been convincingly altered and manipulated to misrepresent someone as doing or saying something that was not actually done or said.”

Deepfakes had a dark and horrifying origin story, but for a while now it has grown past its beginnings and infiltrated mainstream culture.

Deepfakes are a multifaceted tool, and as such, it can and has been used in both positive and negative contexts. Deepfake technology has been used to alter politicians’ words, to keep an actor in a film after they have passed, to create memes, and to give cancer patients a form of communication after they lost the ability to speak. The possibilities are endless. Similar to any emerging technology contemplating the future of this technology is partially daunting and partially exciting.

In a time where slightly editing or altering pictures is commonplace, deepfakes aren’t surprising but what do every day people need to watch out for?

  1. Deepfakes can be used to spread misinformation, so it is wise to check multiple sources if you are unsure. Also making sure your sources are reliable is a given.
  2. Another way they are being used is to steal people’s identity. To combat this, we can only invest in security and continue to monitor our accounts. However, new solutions are emerging. For example, Deeptrace a company solely dedicated to detecting deepfake technology.
  3. Educate yourself. Honestly just understanding that deepfakes exist gives you a leg up in fighting against it. Here is a fun little quiz to see if you can detect deepfakes based on a film that featured Richard Nixon which sparked a lot of conversation surrounding deepfakes:

While deepfake technology isn’t necessarily good or bad, learning more about this evolving technology doesn’t hurt.

At DUIT, our goal is that you all stay safe and educated.

Much love,

The DUIT family