Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Deepfake technology and some of its future amoral users will probably end up starting a war.

Following the very unsettling online release of a clip from Back to the Future that casts Tom Holland in the role of Marty McFly and Robert Downey Junior as Doc Brown via computer manipulation, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this kind of technology is going to bring about the end of the world for human beings in one way or another. "It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye," is an old saying. I feel like its appropriate here, with the "eye" being a metaphor for "our civilization."

The lubricant of civilization...the thing that makes all of the wheels work trust. It's a simple thing, really. Trust is what gives value to our money (the trust that America will continue to pay its bills), and it's trust that we extend to our community members that allows us to learn things and educate ourselves on what is right and what is wrong. It's trust that allows democracy to work. And folks...all of that is eroding in the post-truth era.

The Back to the Future clip I'm talking about is weird. It's not right, but it looks so good that if I hadn't seen the movie, I might be convinced that this is what the actors looked like way back then (You can find it online if you'd like to see it as I'm not linking it here). After having watched it, I'm convinced that these deepfakes are going to be so good very soon that people will begin to rewrite history. We are heading toward a time in which nobody will be able to discern what is real and what isn't, and that includes scholars. And there will be no point in trying to convince people that a video "isn't real" as too many people will be fooled into believing that what they see is the only truth.

Think about it for just a moment. Events could be deepfaked to the point that the truth of what happened in the event will forever be doubted by one or more people, where facts are no longer a part of the human experience. It will be nothing but the experience of perception, and this scares the hell out of me.

Users of deepfake technology can make Bernie say anything that they want. They could make Trump say that he loves abortion. They could make Hilary say that she's a cannibal and relishes the taste of children. This deepfake technology is quicksand for all of us, and it worries me deeply.



  1. That's why I don't believe photos online. Too easy to fake. And now that they can fake video...scary.
    History has already been rewritten. The history books kids read today are slightly altered from what we read. Add doctored photos and video, and it can really be changed. And the news media is so unreliable now. They could get one of those videos and just run with it. People won't remember them saying sorry, it wasn't real. They will just remember what they saw.

  2. History is already written with a slant in mind. There are all sorts of events that aren't easily discoverable. If no one recorded the event someplace, it's completely gone. And how many stories are true or fake that have been written down someplace?

    Those in power seek to stay in power, and they'll use any means necessary to write their own stories. This is just another tool.

  3. The next generation of fake news! People are dumb so I think you're right.

  4. Videos online are already being manipulated, and tho some of them look fake to me, the level of stupidity of some viewers is staggering - they'll believe what they want, and so they'll believe manipulated propaganda.

    But why is Back to the Future being remade? The original is a classic so leave it alone. I wish Hollywood would take more chances on truly original flicks.

  5. I guess Forbes reads your blog