In Conversation With National Endowment for Democracy: How Will Deepfakes Transform Disinformation?

People have started to panic about the increasing possibility of manipulating images, video, and audio, often popularly described as “deepfakes”.  In the past decade Hollywood studios have had the capacity to morph faces —from Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” to Princess Leia in “Star Wars’ Rogue One”—and companies and consumers have had tools such as Photoshop to digitally alter images and video in subtler ways.

Disinformation, the intentional use of false or misleading information for political purposes, is increasingly recognized as a threat to democracy worldwide. Many observers argue that this challenge has been exacerbated by social media and a declining environment for independent news outlets. Now, new advances in technology—including but not limited to “deepfakes” and other forms of synthetic media—threaten to supercharge the disinformation crisis.

WITNESS Program Director Sam Gregory, along with four other deepfakes leading experts sat down with the National Endowment for Democracy to talk about these threats and the role they play in the disinformation landscape.

“The most serious ramification of deepfakes and other forms of synthetic media is that they further damage people’s trust in our shared information sphere and contribute to the move of our default response from trust to mistrust,” Sam told NED.

To read the entire interview, click here.

For more on our work on deepfakes, click here.



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