Deepfakes are AI-modified videos that mask one person’s face over another person’s body. They can be used for harmless fun or for more dubious reasons. Deepfakes are not limited to video, they include audio as well. These altered videos and audio are concerning because they are largely being used to hurt others. Deepfakes go beyond Instagram filters and Photoshop. While filters and Photoshop are used to enhance or alter your appearance, deepfakes are a form of impersonation.
From Photoshop to Deepfakes
In the 90s and 2000s, there was a growing concern for young women being exposed to increasingly photoshopped advertisements and magazine content. Now we also have Instagram filters and apps that make it easy for everyone to photoshop their selfies. The internet and AI technology have exploded and concern for this tech should be amplified as they can lead to issues of low self-esteem, poor body image, body dysmorphia.
Not only that, but deepfakes are being used to spread disinformation, create fake news, and bully and harass young women online. The most popular use of deepfakes is to alter adult content to portray a person for the purpose of revenge. One mom even used it to attack other members of her daughter’s cheerleading squad.
A good deepfake is extremely hard to spot! However, lower-quality ones might have clues like mismatched lip-synching and patchy skin tones. You can also look for flickering around the edges of the person and poorly rendered fine details like hair strands and jewelry. Some other things to look for are reflections in the iris of the eyes and inconsistent lighting.
When it comes to well-made deepfakes, spotting them is much more difficult. It is a perfect example of why it is important to verify and fact-check information you find on the internet. You should also stop and consider if the video footage is consistent with what you’d expect from the subject and if it really makes sense. If something sounds outrageous, look deeper and don’t just take it at face value!
How Much of the Internet is Real
We use the internet so much in our day-to-day lives that it can be hard to take a step back and really ask ourselves how much of it is real. Digitally altered social media pictures have come into wide acceptance. When you see your friends online you might not even really be seeing the real them. Then there is advertising which has gone beyond click-bait to create fake research papers and journal articles. Every day we are bombarded with false information and false imagery. That is why it is more important than ever to limit the time you spend online, be suspicious of online marketing, and don’t blindly trust the information and news you get from YouTube and social media. Finally, always keep your personal information secure and utilize good data privacy practices.