Wait, that’s NOT me?!

A look at ‘Deepfakes’

“What even is a ‘Deepfake’?” people probably ask whenever one is mentioned, or “Did you see what *insert name here* said on this video?”. Chances are, you have a vague idea of what a Deepfake is, and if you do, likely it’s met with thoughts of disdain or bad intentions, however, as I hope to explore in this post, that is not always the case. This post will explore what a deepfake is, as well as try to combine facts and opinions into why its not as unethical as people may think, after all if it’s on the internet, it has to be true.

What IS a Deepfake?

A simplified definition of deepfakes is to superimpose a face onto another body, using A.I systems to gather information and compose several images of all angles to form a fluid movement and appearance. These can be almost photo-realistic if the right captures and movements are used.

The Controversy of Deepfakes

The first well known usage of a deepfake was surrounding a celebrity scandal, using a celebrities face imposed on a compromising body. It was proven to be fake but at the time it caught a lot of controversial opinion. They have since garnered a rough reputation and recently, Facebook has even banned most videos pertaining them, however a few exceptions are allowed.

The Exceptions:

While anything that would tarnish negative light on a persons image or reputation is banned from Facebook, hopefully soon other media platforms will follow suit. There are few cases that are deemed acceptable by the terms. These include anything made for satire or entertainment purposes, as long as it is pointed out that the face being used is a deepfake. It should also be noted that political reasons are still under question, and considering that other political ads are allowed to follow rules of parody, as well as lie during their ads, it should be assumed that political deepfaking would not count under this rule.

The Good of Deepfakes

Not all the controversy of deepfakes should be believed however, and they have even done some good for the entertainment industry. This could include probably the most popularized example of Carrie Fishers ‘Princess Leia’ in Disney’s ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’. This case includes the recreation of Carrie Fishers face from her younger years to be including in the telling of the story. Many other companies are moving into the Deepfaking scene, some have been using it for a while now, including Marvel (which has pretty much got it down by now), and other entertainment personalities such as YouTubers. As long as the use is ethical, and it is used in a meaningful context, I personally see little to no issue in the use of deepfakes.

Experiencing Interactive Media Arts

When it started for me, I wasn’t sure if this course was something I was going to be interested in for the rest of my two year student life.

I was out of the province and a days drive away when I received the text, followed by what felt like hundreds of emails confirming I had been enrolled in the Interactive Media Arts course at Assiniboine Community College. But once I had found a place to live, I realized it was too late to go into hiding and pretend post-secondary education didn’t exist.

A Packed Suitcase
Photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels

The Start

Despite my doubt and anxiety I still decided to show up on the first day of classes (the orientation the week before didn’t really count). While getting to know my teachers was pretty simple, the people considered classmates took a bit longer to break the ice with.

The days quickly became weeks, and then evolved further more into months. As it stands I have now spent around 6 months in this program. While the coding work is a bit of a drag and struggle, the other courses have interested me enough to keep me invested and trying to succeed.

Code – From Pexels

The Work

Aside from some minor classes such as video editing and audio recording/manipulation, the main attraction of this course for anyone with an interest in design, would be the Adobe classes. Several classes are dedicated to teaching and experimenting with the Adobe suite of design tools, including Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects and InDesign.

As stated above, this courses work load can be a bit of a struggle. Due to my lack of research into the materials and the workload, I had no idea this would involve as heavy work as coding. Coding is what I would describe as the bane of my courses workload. However, if it’s something that someone would want to pursue then I would recommend it, I personally know successful graduates of this program who excelled at it.

Photoshop Illustrator After Effects InDesign

Photo by Matan Segev from Pexels

The Outcome

Still enrolled, 6 months later, the doubts completely absent from the thoughts in my head, actually thinking I fit in for once in the education aspects of my life.

As someone who never sought out post-secondary I will wholeheartedly say it’s worth the experience, and you may end up enjoying yourself and the work given.

And best of all, you might get lucky like me and meet the friends you finally feel are worth keeping.

A Story from an IMA student