The Rise of Deepfakes: How AI is Transforming the World of Media

Written by Bryan Grasso

Image by Susan Cipriano from Pixabay

A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) continues to grow as more technological apps are being developed for people to use and explore. Apps such as ChatGPT, Socratic, and many more apps that have been created are making waves for countless people that have been created are making waves for countless people to use. In a way, AI has truly become a technology that any business or individual can leverage to revolutionize the way they work or go about any number of day-to-day activities.

While the idea of AI-generated images or asking an AI to write you a full on movie script is a fun and cool idea to mess around with, there has been a significant rise in a phenomenon within AI known as deepfakes, which refers to the use of AI to create realistic manipulated media content, often involving videos or images. The term is referred to as “deep learning algorithms” which teach themselves to solve problems with large sets of data and can be used to create fake content of real people. Deepfakes have been known to create not just controversy but also have become a growing issue in not just technology, but as our society as a whole. Deepfakes have been starting to pop up and have created a cultural divide between people who seek to use it for fun or others that use it for trouble and crime.

It is also becoming even more of an issue due to the fact that it’s difficult to determine what is real and what is not real when it comes to deepfakes. Researchers have tried to determine a solution to the issue of deepfakes but AI has continued to advance to make it more difficult to pick out the deepfake being used in a certain situation.

Image from the Zee5 website

There have been countless situations that have happened with the consequences of deep fakes. Back in February of this year, a Twitch streamer (Atrioc) was under a lot of controversy as he payed for deepfake pornography where images were generated of fellow women streamers who Atrioc knows and is friends with. The deepfake website had countless images of not only fellow women streamers but celebrities faces as well. QTCinderella, a fellow woman Twitch streamer who’s face was on one of the deepfake videos on the website had commented on the situation and tweeted her disgust and frustration.

A tweet from QTCinderella that she tweeted the day after the screenshot was shared among Reddit members

Experts fear that deepfakes can be used to spread misinformation, for example for political gain, but evidence suggests that women in particular have been victimized. Deepfakes can not only be used for videos and images but are not starting to be used by scammers to call family members and pretend that they are a certain person asking for money. For example, you get a phone call from your grandmother, she says that her car broke down and she needs money to pay the tow truck so you believe this person on the phone and send them the money. Then, you call your grandmother back and she says to, “I never called you about needing money for a tow truck”. This is one of the major things to look out for when it comes to deepfakes continuing to grow especially for scammers to use and dupe people for money.

Image by Cliff Hang from Pixabay

There are many different websites that people can use that involve deep-faking a voice that sounds like either a loved one or even a political figure like Joe Biden or Donald Trump. Some voice deepfake tools need a sample of only a minute long, or even just a few seconds, to produce a voice clone that could be convincing enough to fool someone. 

In my opinion, if not checked, AI can get to a certain point where they can become self aware and create their own deepfakes of anyone, leading to a global meltdown worldwide. An example of how this could happen is if an AI deepfaked the voice of Joe Biden and told China’s officials that they were going to use a nuclear bomb on Russia to start World War III. Now you might feel like this is a bit insane, but it’s a reality we could all face soon if we don’t put the growing rise of deepfakes and AI on notice. This technology can be used to undermine the reputation of a political candidate by making the candidate appear to say or do things that never actually occurred. They are a powerful new tool for those who might want to use misinformation to influence an election.

Image by Patricio González from Pixabay

The continuing rise of deep fakes represent a formidable challenge for society and the future of technology as we navigate the complexity of AI. While deepfakes offer exciting possibilities for creativity, it also presents significant risks that need to be addressed and handled properly. Creating a balance between the responsible use of AI, protecting privacy and security, and preserving the integrity of information to mitigate the potential harm created by deepfakes. Ensuring that the future of media remains rooted in authenticity and trust.