The quality of deepfake videos has increased dramatically and in the last month alone we have witnessed some incredible and terrifying features. Deepfake creators produce videos from a single photogram and then just type whatever they want the subject to say.
Deep concerns about this technology and how it might be used have been raised, especially with limited attempts at halting the spread of fake news on social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. A pair of UK artists, Bill Posters and Daniel Howe, with the help of ad agency Canny, recently uploaded a video to their Instagram page that sees a deepfaked Mark Zuckerberg sending a chilling message to viewers.
“Imagine this for a second: One man, with total control of billions of people’s stolen data, all their secrets, their lives, their futures,” the fake Zuckerberg says in the video. “I owe it all to Spectre. Spectre showed me that whoever controls the data, controls the future.”
While Spectre is the name of the fictional criminal organization in James Bond, it is also the name of an art installation created by Posters and Howe that features various deepfake videos of celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Donald Trump.
In the installation, the two artists focus on what they call the Digital Influence Industry, the burgeoning and unregulated development and implementation of computational methods to manipulate public opinion.
“In 2016 and 2017, the UK, US and Europe witnessed massive political shocks as new forms of computational propaganda employed by social media platforms, the ad industry, and political consultancies like Cambridge Analytica were exposed by journalists and digital rights advocates,” Howe said in a statement. “For Spectre, we used many of the same techniques – data analytics, behavioural profiling, sentiment analysis, deep-learning – to enable audiences to experience the inner workings of the Digital Influence Industry.”
Facebook, which owns Instagram, has decided not to remove the fake video from its platform. People were curious to see whether they would given that the subject of the mockery is their CEO. Recently, a fake video of Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, was produced to make it look like she was slurring. Despite the nature of the video and the politically motivated reason for it being shared, Facebook decided to keep the video up.
“The fact that citizens’ data – including intimate knowledge on political leanings, sexuality, psychological traits and personality – are made available to the highest bidder shows that the digital influence industry and its associated architectures pose a risk not only to individual human rights but to our democracies at large,” Posters stated.
There is currently no legislation that specifically targets deepfake videos, although it has been argued that current laws might be able to address some of the wrongs. Some social media platforms forbid users to upload such videos but it appears that penalties are not employed in many cases.
[H/T: BBC News]