Deepfakes refers to media manipulation rooted in deep neural networks (a form of AI). They make it possible to fabricate media – swap faces, lip syncing, and puppeteer – mostly without consent. They are basically synthetic media content. They have emerged as a new tool to spread computational propaganda and disinformation at scale with speed.
Synthetic Media/ Deepfakes can create possibilities and opportunities for all people, regardless of how people listen, speak, or communicate. It can give people voice, purpose, and ability to make an impact at scale and with speed.
- Like most new technologies, it can also be weaponized to inflict harm. It can inflict damage to individuals, institutions, businesses, and democracy. They can be threat to psychology, security, political stability, and business disruption.
- Nation state actors with geopolitical aspirations, ideological believers, violent extremists, and economically motivated enterprises can manipulate media narratives using Deepfakes, with easy and unprecedented reach and scale.
- Crime against women can increase with malicious use of Deepfakes in pornography and can inflict emotional, reputational and in some cases violent outcome for some individuals.
- Endanger Social Harmony – Communal/caste-based statements
- Decrease trust towards institutions like government/media – by propagating false propaganda against them.
- Undermine democracy and impair diplomacy – false information about institutions, public policy, and politicians powered by a Deepfakes can be exploited to spin the story and manipulate belief.
To defend the truth and secure freedom of expression, we need a multi-stakeholder and multi-modal approach. Collaborative actions and collective techniques across legislative regulations, platform policies, technology intervention and media literacy can provide effective and ethical countermeasures to mitigate the threat of malicious Deepfakes.
- Legislative Regulation: Come up with a Deepfakes accountability act which ensures that Deepfakes creators ensure appropriate disclosures such as watermarks and descriptions; the right of the victim to sue the creator
- Consumer awareness and Media Literacy by Consumers and Journalists will be the key to fighting Deepfakes. Media literacy efforts should be enhanced to cultivate a discerning public. A consumer should have the ability to decipher, translate, understand and use the information we encounter.
- Technological intervention with easy to use and accessible technology solutions to detect Deepfakes, authenticate media, and amplify authoritative sources will be crucial in fighting Deepfakes.