November 14, 2019, 5:00


Imagine Fake Video With Defence Minister Declaring War! Analysts Warn Deepfakes Could Create Chaos

Imagine Fake Video With Defence Minister Declaring War! Analysts Warn Deepfakes Could Create Chaos

While politicians, who are most impacted by the deepfake threat alongside celebrities, are trying to come up with legal means to prevent wrongdoers from using the technology, experts warn that the battle against such materials won’t be easy. At the same time, technologies for detecting the fakes seem to be lagging behind the ones that create them.

Investment and research are more directed at developing deepfake-generating tools than deepfake detection, EU tech policy analyst at the Centre for Data Innovation Eline Chivot warns. According to her, the result is a mismatch and a lack of tools needed to tackle the problem efficiently, with the technologies progressing fast and becoming more available to a broader range of actors.

She points out that human review is not a sufficient solution to stop deepfakes from spreading.

She notes that creating legislation to regulate the use of deepfakes, in general, could be misguided, pointing out that it requires a greater understanding by policymakers. She insists that policies aiming to attract more investments should be prioritised, as these could help develop new technologies.

Tech Platforms’ Assistance Needed

Her stance is echoed by tech entrepreneur Fernando Bruccoleri, who suggests that even though people will ultimately be responsible for determining what is real and what is not, tech platforms should make it easy for them. He points to the deepfake concept, saying that we will have a problem discerning the truth, as neither the genuine nor fake videos would be eligible to serve as evidence. He also agrees that we will need time to accept the legal changes needed to respond to deepfake challenges.

No Legal Tool Against Creating Deepfakes

At the same time, the CEO of the video verification company Amber, Shamir Allibhai, whose firm specialises in detecting fakes, insists that regulating the creation of deepfakes is an impossible task. He says that it would be easier to tackle the distribution of such materials the same way that tools against so-called revenge-porn do.

Although he points out that deepfakes could be used for good purposes, like creating movies with deceased film stars, he admits that the technology can be exploited to foment political turmoil. He notes that fake videos, as well as fake news, can be used to actually pull society “further and further apart”, saying that more content of this kind is coming.

International Chaos Possible

CEO of the cyber-security firm LGMS Fong Choong Fook goes further, warning that deepfakes of politicians, whose images can easily be faked as there is a lot of footage of them on the Internet, could lead to international chaos.

At the same time, he warns that while in order to detect deepfake videos we still have to rely on our eyes, this natural tool is unable to identify any noticeable flaws in a well-trained deepfake video.

He predicts that programming a machine to detect such videos is challenging, as deepfake tech uses a deep learning algorithm that is more sophisticated than machine learning.

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