Deepfake videos could be commonplace and found across the media and online platforms within six months, according to a leading expert. The idea of the videos is to look completely real and show people doing things they never did. These are created by complex computing and artificial intelligence and have caused outrage recently. Moving images can be created from just a single image of a person and US politician Nancy Pelosi, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and even the Mona Lisa have been used in the convincing clips already. The video that kicked off the concern last month was a doctored video of Nancy Pelosi (pictured), the speaker of the US House of Representatives.
Late last year, some WikiLeaks supporters were growing concerned: What had happened to Julian Assange? The then-45-year-old founder of the anti-secrecy publisher was no stranger to controversy. Since 2012, he has sheltered in the Ecuadorian Embassy in Knightsbridge, London, following allegations of sexual assault. But the publication of leaked emails from Democratic Party officials in the run-up to the US presidential election saw Assange wield unprecedented influence while at the center of a global media firestorm. After the election, though, suspicions were growing that something had happened to him.
A shocking video of Barack Obama has been making the rounds on the internet showing the former president calling Donald Trump a'total and complete dips***'. If you didn't know any better, you might think the video is real. In actuality, what appears to be Obama's voice is actually words spoken by'Get Out' director and writer Jordan Peele. Peele's voice and mouth were digitally inserted into the video using a sophisticated, but increasingly commonplace, technology that's powered by artificial intelligence, called'deepfakes'. The video appears to be of former president Barack Obama giving an address.
In an age of Photoshop, filters and social media, many of us are used to seeing manipulated pictures – subjects become slimmer and smoother or, in the case of Snapchat, transformed into puppies. However, there's a new breed of video and audio manipulation tools, made possible by advances in artificial intelligence and computer graphics, that will allow for the creation of realistic looking footage of public figures appearing to say, well, anything. Hillary Clinton describing the stolen children she keeps locked in her wine cellar. Tom Cruise finally admitting what we suspected all along … that he's a Brony. This is the future of fake news.
Artificial intelligence is fueling the next phase of misinformation. The new type of synthetic media known as deepfakes poses major challenges for newsrooms when it comes to verification. This content is indeed difficult to track: Can you tell which of the images below is a fake? We at The Wall Street Journal are taking this threat seriously and have launched an internal deepfakes task force led by the Ethics & Standards and the Research & Development teams. This group, the WSJ Media Forensics Committee, is comprised of video, photo, visuals, research, platform, and news editors who have been trained in deepfake detection.