Last week in this column I mentioned deepfakes, almost in passing in my little love letter to Reddit, but a few recent conversations I’ve had about these suggest they are not as well-known or understood as I’d thought. And they really should be.

I did a quick survey of friends and family. My digital-media lecturer friend knew what I was on about — no surprise there — but the majority didn’t. The fact that most people — smart, educated, professional people from a range of cities and professions — hadn’t heard of these is almost as scary as the existence of deepfakes themselves. They are potentially a huge threat — socially, politically, and economically — and I’m not overstating here.

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