What are Deepfakes?

deep_fake
Pic for representation. image credit @pixabay

What Are Deepfakes?

Deepfakes is a technology that allows a person to create or present a fake video with the help of Artificial Intelligence. It is an AI technology that helps in editing or creating something that hasn’t actually occurred. The simplest way to understand this is a portal of a famous celebrity face that speaks something different in a video that he didn’t even speak about in the original video.

It isn’t necessary that a Deepfake should just be a video, it can also be realistic audio recordings which are made to match the original video. 

This is mainly done to sabotage the image of a famous celebrity or a politician. A Deepfake video could create a lot of misunderstanding which could lead to the downfall of a person’s reputation. 

Where and when did these start originating?

Earlier, when Deepfake wasn’t even a word, there was a video rewrite program that was published in 1997. The software helped in altering the footage by depicting a mouth movement of some other words which were not spoken by the person. It was the first such video altering program that helped in creating fake facial and mouth movements. 

Later as the technology evolved, the Deepfake concept was originated. In 2016, there was a famous application called Face2Face which made the Deepfake process possible. But it 2017, where people actually termed this process as Deepfakes. A Reddit user named the term “Deepfakes” and it was all started.

Examples of Softwares used for Deep Fakes

Today, we see many famous celebrity faces being manipulated. In 2017, the former president of the USA Barack Obama’s video was surfaced online which showed him mouthing different words from the actual speech. Similarly, we also saw Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s video with realistic facial expressions and voicing which was been manipulated from the original speech. 

There are various software’s used for Deepfakes such as the DeepFaceLab, Face Swap Live, Deepfakes Web β, MachineTube, etc. There’s also an application that can alter the faces and even the entire body. 

What are the 5 viral examples of Deepfake content in India?

In India, there is already a lot of misinformation regarding news where people are just changing the caption and everyone thinks that it is the truth. Therefore, here, Deepfake videos will be extremely believable. 

It’s not that there are none such Deepfake cases but they are still limited here in India. Some of the viral examples are Arvind Kejriwal’s Drunk video, Keanu Reeves’s Singham video, viral PM Narendra Modi’s video, Fake Kidnapping footage, and the endless pornographic celebrity Deepfake videos. 

Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company has taken down thousands of videos related to dangerous or misleading coronavirus information using its Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based technology

What has been the impact of Deepfakes in recent Indian Politics?

Some of the Deepfakes have already created a lot of buzz in the minds of the public and these fake videos don’t seem to stop any time soon. In fact, the impact of such videos is enormous and is growing. The general public has already taken these videos seriously and that has end to a bad reputation of the politicians. We saw people going crazy after the viral Kejriwal Drunk video where people believed that it was the truth. 

Due to such fake videos, Indian politics has gotten absurd for the public. Some of the politicians have also faced a lot of criticism and trolling after such Deepfakes. So much that, people had made cushion dolls of them and burned it for reflecting their anger. 

What is the current administration/ Indian Govt doing to tackle Deepfakes?

So far there has been an influence of these Deepfake videos to showcase something negative about others or else for trolling others. Such Deepfakes have also been used for spreading humor, but with the rise of these videos, we are near to a day where everything will be altered and people will be believing them. 

In the United States, the DEEPFAKES Accountability Act has been amended to tackle such  Deepfakes. The European Union has also stated that for defending such fake videos they need public engagement. It published a strategy to tackle misinformation.

China was also curious about such videos and the government there has taken an initiative of delivering news with AI developed human anchors.

There are still a few years left for the general elections in India, but looking at this rise of these Deepfake videos, we can say that it will surely be used for the negative publicity of the parties. Therefore, the Indian Government has to do something real quick. So far, the Government has said to ignore such Deepfakes. In addition, there are two main private organizations to check facts, there’s the Altnews.in and Boomlive.in websites. 

Other than this, there was also a declaration by the Government to not believe any information which is forwarded on social media application WhatsApp as most of the Deepfakes are being spread on that application itself. 

Are the measures undertaken by administration/ Indian Govt sufficient or any been successful? 

These measures have seen limited success, but a more comprehensive government policy is needed to tackle the spreading of misinformation. 

In India, some people will still believe fake videos and spread or forward it on social media applications. Therefore, the only thing the government can do is to ban such applications that make these videos possible. The Government will also need public engagement and it would want them to check if the news is true and if not then don’t share it in the first place. 

Today, Deepfakes have become a major concern and what success government measures would achieve, is yet to be seen. 

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