Double tech: the Deepfake videos that threaten democracy

Lifestyle

Double tech: the Deepfake videos that threaten democracy

Digitally altered footage showing real people doing things that never happened raises stakes in war on fake news

Laurence Dodds

The video was unmistakably her. For centuries she’d sat still, smiling that gnomic smile, but now here she was in full motion: the Mona Lisa, still yellowed by age, chatting animatedly with an unseen interviewer as if she were Diana, Princess of Wales, talking about her charity work.

This remarkable piece of film was only the latest advance in the science of “deepfakes”: computer-generated videos depicting real people doing and saying things that never happened.

Deepfakes, which are cheap and simple to build using widely available online tools, have been used to make Barack Obama and Donald Trump give imaginary speeches, and to insert the faces of numerous female celebrities into pornographic videos...

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