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Dystopia Watch – Tracking Deepfake Technology (2021)

Tom Cruise Deepfake

Tom Cruise Deepfake Courtesy of Sky News

These “tracking” posts are placekeepers for continually changing information on new technologies and other changes, in this case deepfake technology to make imitations of human beings online and on TV. I’ve long felt this tech is one of the greatest potential threats to (a) actors and TV / radio talent, who can (soon) be entirely replaced by AI reproductions (b) truth generally, in the sense that anyone can be shown doing anything for political or commercial reasons. Deepfake is a threat to jobs, truth and democracy itself. But of course we don’t do anything about it until it’s far too late.

9/26 – Deepfake Bruce Willis (Authorized)

Deepfake Technology in Q1 2021

Mar 22 / Influencer is 50 Year Old Man (Not Teen Girl)

Okay, this is just funny. Or at least it’s funny if you don’t think about how the exact same strategy and technology will impact our next elections…

No one will read what a normal middle-aged man, taking care of his motorcycle and taking pictures outside posts on his account,” Zonggu said on the show.  That’s when he turned to deepfake apps like FaceApp to alter his appearance. – The Byte

Mar 15 / Deepfake Video Detection via Eye Reflections?

According to researchers at the University of Buffalo, it’s possible to detect most deepfake videos using eye reflections. This is great news, but also a bit humorous. All they’ve really done is free quality control work for deepfake technology companies to work on improving next-gen fakes.

Mar 15 / Mom Uses Deepfakes  to Bully Cheerleaders

You know technology is on the precipice of exponential growth when a suburban mom can use it to fake videos of her daughter’s competition.

“A Pennsylvania woman is accused of doctoring photos and video of her daughter’s cheerleading rivals to try to get them kicked off the squad, officials said. The Bucks County District Attroney’s [sic] Office last week charged Raffaela Spone, 50, with three misdemeanor counts of cyber harassment of a child and related offenses.”

How long until video evidence is useless in any and all criminal proceedings? Evidence? That’s just a deepfake. Prove me wrong.

Mar 8 / “Deepfake is the Future of Content Creation

This newscaster (Kim Joo-ha) isn’t actually there. She’s an AI deepfake:


Pointing out the obvious, this BBC article notes how deepfake will gain its foothold in the market in the form of clearly advantageous uses–primarily, decreasing the costs of education and commercial content production:

Despite the negative connotations surrounding the colloquial term deepfakes (people don’t usually want to be associated with the word “fake”), the technology is increasingly being used commercially. More politely called AI-generated videos, or synthetic media, usage is growing rapidly in sectors including news, entertainment and education, with the technology becoming increasingly sophisticated.

Mar 3 / Tom Cruise Deepfake Goes Viral

This and many articles take notice of a Tom Cruise deepfake on Tik Tok by visual artist Chris Ume, who’s done many others:

Personally, very glad this kind of thing is happening, as it will keep the public’s attention  on the potential (good or bad) of deepfake technology.

Mar 1 / “What to do about Deepfakes

An article by Dr. Deborah Johnson on policy and technical approaches to deepfake management and awareness, focused primarily on education and automated detection. It’s not like people aren’t aware of the dangers, so it’s good someone’s giving it serious thought:

In practice a combination of automated and semiautomated detection may be most prudent. Ultimately, once verification tools are developed there will be yet another layer of sociotechnical challenges for tool deployment, from considering adversarial scenarios and access issues, to output explanations and integration with broader media verification workflows.

I just don’t know if anyone in power is listening…or has the money / resources to keep up with a rapidly advancing private sector.

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