July 2, 2021

Deepfakes - What Are They?

Deepfakes - What Are They?

Have you heard of 'Deep Fakes' before? They are an incredibly interesting but also potentially dangerous use of modern technology; it allows anyone with a computer and some spare time to create near-perfect recreations of a face and apply them to already existing footage. Using AI-generated video anyone can make themselves look like James Corden, Tom Holland, or anyone they can get video footage of. It works by "training" an ai to detect the way a face looks, it then attempts to recreate a face from scratch based on what the user is trying to create.


It’s not certain you’d look exactly like the other person, but something like this can be done in a few minutes using an app called Reface which has taken social media by storm. Reface, as shown above, gives people a quick and easy way to look like their favourite celebrities with a touch of a button. Much like the saying 'you get what you pay for' Reface is very limited in its application and because of its ease-of-use is what's considered a 'shallow-fake'; it takes a very long time and pretty high tech equipment to create more convincing deepfakes such as the video below: Jim Carrey placed into the role of Joaquin Phoenix's Joker (2019)

For the most part, this kind of tech is being used by both internet pranksters and university labs looking to study the very interesting form of AI; however, it can take a malicious turn when you consider a military coup was nearly started because Gabon’s president had been absent from the public eye and upon his return, his opposition suggested a video of him was in fact a deep fake; or that there are growing concerns deep fakes can add female celebrities or politicians into compromising positions. As previously mentioned, however, the kind of deepfakes you would worry about take a very concise effort to create.

Ever heard the phrase: “I saw it on Facebook'' from a misguided but well-meaning relative? This line of thinking is becoming more and more dangerous. This video below shows Jeremy Corbyn, ex Labour leader, pledging his support for Boris Johnson ahead of our last election; this is obviously fake and was created by an organization called Future Advocacy to help raise awareness but all it takes is clipping that out of context and you have a recipe for disaster. This kind of technology is on the fast track to becoming a huge threat not only to our democracy but to the very principles of truth in the media.

How do you protect against what appears to be near-perfect videos of the people you’ve been told to trust? Well, you can't really, you can only take the best course of action to ensure that in the event you’re tricked you understand why that happened and what you can do in the future to prevent it. Knowing not to take things at face value is paramount to defending against this kind of misinformation, it’ll still be a while before it's truly perfect and if you get a gut feeling, don't ignore it. “Don't believe everything you hear on the internet” is still a very accurate statement people should keep in mind more often especially when it comes to social media.

Is your business up to the challenge of new cybersecurity threats? Would your team members be able to spot a deepfake? Our IT team provides cybersecurity consultation to ensure you and your team are kept safe. If you are concerned about your business falling foul, we can provide advice and guidance. Get in touch with our marketing team today and we can discuss how you can protect yourself and your staff.


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