Fake videos are disturbing and getting easier to make
The deep neural network technology that allowed an artificial intelligence become the best player of the game "Go" is now being used to alter video and audio, including replacing the faces of people on screen.
The technology is being called a "deepfake", and uses reference photos to create a map of someone's face, which is then attached to the body of an actor on screen. (This has often been done with celebrities because of the large number of photos available.)
A mistake we make when we try to predict the future is that we are thinking about what our worst nightmares are, instead of what the motivations of a bad actor might look like- Hudson Hongo
Hudson Hongo is the news editor for Gizmodo, as well as the author of the short story WATCH: The Shocking Assassination of President Guy Fieri, which shows a future where these fake videos become commonplace and are used for our entertainment.
When deepfake technology was first presented to the public, the nightmare scenario was someone impersonating a world leader and starting wars. But Hudson believes that the the threat is more banal, and actually more disturbing.
In Hudson's story, characters use deepfake technology to add celebrities to disaster footage and have sitcom characters beat up game show contestants.
"A mistake we make when we try to predict the future is that we are thinking about what our worst nightmares are, instead of what the motivations of a bad actor might look like," Hongo said.
"With any technology it ends up delivering problems that we didn't even know to fear yet. And in this case it would be something gross and crass, and almost too stupid for us to be afraid of."