Daisy Ridley is one of countless celebrities who have been the victim of deepfakes. Reddit Daisy Ridley sits up in bed and smiles. The Star Wars actor runs her fingers through her hair and laughs playfully. There are dozens of pornographic videos of Ridley online.
They are all, of course, fake. Netsafe and InternetNZ are among those warning this type of fake video could become a dangerous mass phenomenon that could threaten our privacy, safety and even our democracy.
They employ a type of AI called machine learning, which is modelled on the human brain and can adapt and improve without reprogramming. To create a deepfake of Daisy Ridley, for example, you would need a batch of photos of the actor - taken from different angles and of different facial expressions - to train the machine learning system.
Once it sufficiently understands the nuances of her appearance, it can paste her into a pornographic video. In January, using a similar algorithm, a desktop application called FakeApp was launched that allows users to easily create videos of faces that have been swapped for others. With relative ease, anyone can now create a deepfake. Some newer deepfakes are uncanny. White was ahead of the trend when, in , he developed a Twitter bot called "SmileVector" that can add or remove smiles to photos of people's faces.
A few months later, one of his students took his algorithm and created a video involving a real face swapped onto an animated one. White says this is one of the earliest examples of a deepfake. It sounds like Obama. Dr Strickland says fake videos could be made with far more nefarious motivation.
A manipulated video could be used to plunge stocks, ridicule powerful people and manipulate the public. A fake video of an assassination, for instance, could spread panic, cause riots and spark major civil unrest.
And the scariest part? Supplied Griffin, who was formerly director at Science Media Centre, says deepfakes hint at the trouble ahead for machine learning technology. It has to be. Dr Strickland says cynicism is a double-edged sword. Fake videos could mean seeing would no longer be believing. It later emerged the image had been doctored by gun rights lobbyists in an attempt to discredit the teenager. The original photo had been of Gonzalez tearing up a paper target from a shooting range.
The image on the left is real. The right is fake. In , Slate experimented with this idea by showing people five fabricated political photos, including Obama shaking hands with then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Despite being told that what they had seen was false, about 15 percent were later convinced the event had happened. This rate was magnified when the fake photo fit with their political worldview.
There are other major technological advancements happening in machine learning. The robot paused and ummed and ahhed like a human. The audience was both impressed and stunned, and tech commentators have subsequently called the technology creepy and deceptive.
They said allowing a Google program to answer your phone, make and receive payments, and set appointments raised major privacy concerns. So why would Google develop this type of artificial intelligence? Dr Strickland says technology is rarely created to be dangerous or harmful. He likes the idea of it representing a point in time: You can now watch Cage exploring a temple in Raiders of the Lost Ark, battling the Terminator, or taking a bath in front of Superman.