How Deepfakes Undermine Truth and Threaten Democracy
The use of deepfake technology to manipulate video and audio for malicious purposes — whether it’s to stoke violence or defame politicians and journalists — is becoming a real threat. As these tools become more accessible and their products more realistic, how will they shape what we believe about the world? In a portentous talk, law professor Danielle Citron reveals how deepfakes magnify our distrust — and suggests approaches to safeguarding the truth.
“Not only do we believe fakes, we are starting to doubt the truth,” says Danielle Citron. Deepfakes pose a threat to the truth and democracy. (July 23, 2019, in Edinburgh, Scotland)
From TED Blog:
Danielle Citron, professor of law and deepfake scholar
Big idea: Deepfakes — machine learning technology used to manipulate or fabricate audio and video content — can cause significant harm to individuals and society. We need a comprehensive legislative and educational approach to the problem.
How? The use of deepfake technology to manipulate video and audio for malicious purposes — whether it’s to stoke violence against minorities or to defame politicians and journalists — is becoming ubiquitous. With tools being made more accessible and their products more realistic, what becomes of that key ingredient for democratic processes: the truth? As Danielle Citron points out, “Not only do we believe fakes, we are starting to doubt the truth.” The fix, she suggests, cannot be merely technological. Legislation worldwide must be tailored to fighting digital impersonations that invade privacy and ruin lives. Educational initiatives are needed to teach the media how to identify fakes, persuade law enforcement that the perpetrators are worth prosecuting and convince the public at large that the future of democracy really is at stake.
Quote of the talk: “Technologists expect that advances in AI will soon make it impossible to distinguish a fake video and a real one. How can truths emerge in a deepfake ridden ‘marketplace of ideas?’ Will we take the path of least resistance and just believe what we want to believe, truth be damned?”