' Brenna Gibbs | MTTLR

Is Seeing Still Believing? Deepfakes and Their Future in the Law

While video manipulation has been around since before Tom Hanks was shown meeting with President John F. Kennedy 31 years after his assassination in Forrest Gump, there has been a recent proliferation of a more sinister use of editing technology. The term “deepfake” refers to a video or audio clip that is doctored using deep learning artificial intelligence to depict an event that did not actually happen. President Trump retweeted a video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appearing to stutter incoherently in a public address, and Parkland shooting survivor and advocate Emma Gonzalez recently went viral in a video where she was seen “ripping up the Constitution.” These kinds of videos are becoming increasingly realistic and alarming.     While Hollywood has been using technologies to alter images and videos for many years, the ability to create such videos has democratized at an alarming rate. The scope and scale of the technology has increased to include anyone with access to a computer. The dangerous possibilities became apparent when an anonymous Reddit user started posting realistic-looking doctored videos of celebrities engaged in various sexual acts. This technology is available on a free cell phone app called FakeApp which works by feeding photos or videos of a “target” into the app and then using “deep learning” artificial intelligence to combine the face of the target with the chosen video. The app has been followed by Zao, a free face-swapping deepfake app that has gone viral in China. This technology has the potential to be extremely harmful for many reasons. First, it has been used in the perpetration of revenge porn. On...