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.