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An investigative journalist receives a video from an anonymous whistleblower. It shows a candidate for president admitting to illegal activity. But is this video real? If so, it would be huge news – the scoop of a lifetime – and could completely turn around the upcoming elections. But the journalist runs the video through a specialized tool, which tells her that the video isn’t what it seems. In fact, it’s a “deepfake,” a video made using artificial intelligence with deep learning.
Journalists all over the world could soon be using a tool like this. In a few years, a tool like this could even be used by everyone to root out fake content in their social media feeds.
Journalists and the social media platforms also need to figure out how best to warn people about deepfakes when they are detected. Research has shown that people remember the lie, but not the fact that it was a lie. Will the same be true for fake videos? Simply putting “Deepfake” in the title might not be enough to counter some kinds of disinformation.
Deepfakes are here to stay. Managing disinformation and protecting the public will be more challenging than ever as artificial intelligence gets more powerful. We are part of a growing research community that is taking on this threat, in which detection is just the first step.