Deepfakes: Fake videos need real remedy

Posted in AI Artificial intelligence Technology and innovation Blog post Canada

Your friend tells you they saw a video of you on social media. You look it up. The person in that video looks like you. That person even sounds like you. To make matters worse the video shows this counterfeit version of you doing something incredibly embarrassing. You have never done what the video is portraying and yet here it is online forever. You have just been victimized by a deepfake.

What is a Deepfake?

Deepfakes (short for ‘deep learning’ and ‘fake’[1]) use AIs trained in audio and video synthesis to manufacture fake videos. The AI system itself is based on adversarial generative learning.[2] These AIs are able to learn how a face moves from a bank of photos that a user inputs. It then superimposes that face onto the body of someone else in an unrelated video.

This technology is still somewhat young, but it is getting more accessible to the general public and better at creating convincing videos.[3] It can be used for innocuous purposes like inserting one’s self into one’s favourite movie,[4] or for poking harmless fun at political figures.[5] However, this technology also has a dark side.

 

Read the full blog post on deepfakes on our Social Media Law Bulletin here.

 

 

[1] Tom Van de Weghe, “Six lessons from my deepfakes research at Stanford” (May 29, 2019), Medium, online: <https://medium.com/jsk-class-of-2019/six-lessons-from-my-deepfake-research-at-stanford-1666594a8e50>.

[2] JM Porup, “How and why deepfake videos work – and what is at risk” (April 10, 2019), CSO, online: <https://www.csoonline.com/article/3293002/deepfake-videos-how-and-why-they-work.html>.

[3] Tom Van de Weghe, “Six lessons from my deepfakes research at Stanford” (May 29, 2019), Medium, online: <https://medium.com/jsk-class-of-2019/six-lessons-from-my-deepfake-research-at-stanford-1666594a8e50>.

[4] Ryan Gilbey, “A ‘deep fake’ app will make us film stars – but will we regret our narcissism” (September 4, 2019), The Guardian, online: <https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/sep/04/a-deep-fake-app-will-make-us-film-stars-but-will-we-regret-our-narcissism>.

[5] Kaleigh Rogers, “Deepfakes of Canadian politicians emerge on YouTube” (June 20, 2019), CBC, online: <https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/deepfakes-canadian-politicians-youtube-1.5181296>.

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