Yisroel Mirsky, Wenke Lee
Ben-Gurion University and Georgia Institute of Technology, May 2020
A deepfake is content generated by artificial intelligence which seems authentic in the eyes of a human being. The word deepfake is a combination of the words ‘deep learning’ and ‘fake’ and primarily relates to content generated by an artificial neural network, a branch of machine learning.
The most common form of deepfakes involves the generation and manipulation of human imagery. This technology has creative and productive applications. For example, realistic video dubbing of foreign films, education through the reanimation of historical figures, and virtually trying on clothes while shopping. There are also numerous online communities devoted to creating deepfake memes for entertainment, such as music videos portraying the face of actor Nicolas Cage.
However, despite the positive applications of deepfakes, the technology is infamous for its unethical and malicious capabilities. At the end of 2017, a Reddit user by the name of ‘deepfakes’ used deep learning to swap faces of celebrities into pornographic videos and posted them online.