Deepfakes will put a new spin on fake news
AI-powered imitation of speech and images allows users to create alternative realities, and put words into people’s mouths
Recently, I was shown dozens of small pictures of Donald Trump, some real, others digitally created. I found it impossible to distinguish among them. Asked to pick three that were possibly fake, I got only one right. The exercise was an introduction to the looming security threat of "deepfakes", the artificial intelligence-powered imitation of speech and images to create alternative realities, making someone appear to be saying or doing things they never said or did. In their simplest form, deepfakes are achieved by giving a computer instructions and feeding it images and audio of a person to teach it to imitate that person’s voice (and possibly much more). There is already an app for that: FakeApp (and video tutorials) and an underground digital community that is superimposing celebrity faces on to actors in porn videos. Today’s deepfake productions are still imperfect, but the technology is progressing rapidly. Within two or three years we may be watching videos without anyone bei...