Can’t fake it? Make it.

By Lee Peacock, Content Executive
05/02/2019

Have you been hit by a deepfake yet? The likelihood is, you might not even know.

Deepfake is an advancement in artificial intelligence-based technology used to produce or manipulate video content to present something that didn’t, in actual fact, occur. The word applies to both the technologies used and the videos created as a result of it – combining that of ‘deep learning’ and ‘fake content’.

This technology isn’t as new as the media would lead you to believe though. We’ve been using CGI technology in films and high-end productions for years. The extremes of this are most notably when actors or actresses sadly pass away during shooting or a larger series – you only have to think about Paul Walker in The Fast and Furious, Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Hunger Games, Carrie Fisher in Rogue One, and even Audrey Hepburn in the 2013 Galaxy advert.

The worry stems from the ease of accessibility developing within this technology. What was once a high-end, high-production tool has now been dumbed down to Snapchat filters and everyday hobbyists.

So what’s the fear behind the usage of another’s face? At its most dangerous, some believe it could spark the next world war – using politics as an example, a hacker could announce a war on another country with the face of a politician. Content of that extremity would go viral in a matter of moments, forcing other countries to take action against the ‘attack’.

Well-known celebs such as Selena Gomez, Emma Watson and Ariana Grande have already fallen victim to deepfake – they’ve been used in adult films, potentially damaging their professional reputation in a matter of minutes and raising ethical and legal queries. At this time, there are no laws in place regarding the creation of deepfake but surely using somebody’s image without permission should have laws attached to it? Fraud, copyright infringement and the solicitation of images come to mind as a starting point.

But how can we use the technology behind deepfake in the world of advertising? Picture an agency that manages the rights to celebrity and influencer faces. At a fraction of the cost of working with the real thing, we could have full creative freedom with a breadth of well-known faces. We could have the late David Bowie in the same advert as Elton John or the members of S Club 7 all in one place again! The possibilities and combinations would be endless (if not a possible issue for authenticity).

What do you think about this advancement in AI? Cause for concern or an abundance of opportunities for the creative industry? Hit me up with your thoughts.

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