Deepfakes: Fake Videos Need Real Remedy

  • September 23, 2019
  • Daniel Daniele, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

Your friend tells you they saw a video of you online. You look it up. The person in that video looks like you. That person even sounds like you. To make matters worse the video shows this counterfeit version of you doing something incredibly embarrassing. You have never done what the video is portraying and yet here it is online forever. You have just been victimized by a deepfake.

What is a Deepfake?

Deepfakes (short for ‘deep learning’ and ‘fake’[1]) use artificial intelligence to manufacture fake videos. The AI system itself is based on adversarial generative learning.[2] These AIs are able to learn how a face moves from a bank of photos that a user inputs. It then superimposes that face onto the body of someone else in an unrelated video.

This technology is still somewhat young, but it is getting more accessible to the general public and better at creating convincing videos.[3] It can be used for innocuous purposes like inserting one’s self into one’s favourite movie,[4] or for poking harmless fun at political figures.[5] However, this technology also has a dark side.