micro-chips Technology

DeepFakes, tricking netizens

A representative image of deception brought on by DeepFakes

A representative image of deception brought on by DeepFakes   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

Internet’s latest lingo takes ‘face swap’ to a sinister realm, creating data fissures in society through propaganda

Everyone who has pointed an accusatory finger at neutral tech Artificial Intelligence (AI) and yelled ‘saboteur!’ is probably saying ‘I told you so,’ as DeepFakes take over the web.

DeepFake is the portmanteau of ‘deep learning’ and ‘fake.’ One can even think of DeepFakes as the Internet’s ‘false positives’. Derived from the malicious use of FakeApp, a face-swapping software which utilises AI and graphics processors, the idea is to swap someone’s face with another and make it look like they’re doing or saying something they very well shouldn’t be.

While some may chuckle at this and consider FakeApp an opportunity to play a practical joke on friends, the more common use has been in political propaganda and pornography. It is no small feat to create the perfect DeepFake; it requires a precise knowledge of video and image editing to pull off a seamless con.

Sadly, these visuals can be very convincing because the tech and skillset are so advanced, that you can barely tell with the naked eye whether a video is fake or real. Amateur-level DeepFakes, however, comprise simple algorithms without the use of AI.

An example of how FakeApp was used; Nicholas Cage’s face on Carrie Fisher’s body for ‘Star Wars’

An example of how FakeApp was used; Nicholas Cage’s face on Carrie Fisher’s body for ‘Star Wars’  

‘To create mass chaos’

As if the Internet isn’t doing enough to become a safe space for women, porn sites have seen an influx of DeepFake videos commissioned by men seeking to take revenge porn to another level. Female co-workers and exes have seen themselves installed in a humiliating situation, creating an atmosphere of terror.

Faces of women in the public eye, such as those of Emma Watson and Scarlett Johannson have been made into DeepFake pornography for the sake of views.

While it is easy to sue for this, lawmakers who’ve spoken out about the subject point out that the first line of defence is the claim that the videos are a form of cultural or political expression protected by the free speech law.

An example of how FakeApp was used; Nicholas Cage’s face on Amy Adams’ body

An example of how FakeApp was used; Nicholas Cage’s face on Amy Adams’ body  

Recently, the team at McAfee explained how DeepFakes are a threat to cybersecurity; AI can be used for political deception. Much like history’s Trojan horse, DeepFakes could be used to send countries into war, creating mass chaos. While this can be considered far-fetched, we have seen conflict happen for less.

The power of discerning a DeepFake from real footage is in our hands, though. With myth-busting platforms such as Alt News and SM Hoax Slayer, we can do a little background checking before jumping to conclusions and sharing it. In the Age Of Information, the most dangerous things are lies and propaganda, after all.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 12:18:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/microchips-deepfakes-tricking-netizens/article26568141.ece

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