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The Dangers of Deepfake Technology

Following the rapid technological advancements of the past few decades, complex tasks that once required specialized knowledge have become much simpler — so much so that many could be accomplished by almost anyone with access to the internet. While there is no doubt that technology has played a major role in humanity’s growth, it is important to note the devastation that it has brought upon humanity as well, particularly when it has fallen into the wrong hands. If you want a sickening number of examples, see WWII.


If history has taught us anything, it is that preemptive planning is crucial to prevent the abuse of new cutting-edge technologies. Considering the growing number of deepfakes — digitally altered images, videos and/or audios of people — being spread throughout our country, it is safe to say that current policies are insufficient. 


Deepfake technology, in a primitive form, has been around since the 1990s. It only rose to prominence in recent years — after entrepreneurs competed to create the most advanced, accessible and easiest-to-navigate digital editing software on the market. 


The end result was a technology so advanced that only one photo, video or audio clip was needed to create an unbelievably accurate, yet completely fabricated, image of a person. 


With such strong capabilities, deepfake technology has been primarily used for malicious and vindictive purposes (e.g., spreading false information for political influence). 


The technology has been weaponized against women especially. Studies show that a staggering 96% of all deepfake content is pornographic in nature, and 99% of the falsified faces are sourced from women unrelated to the original image or video. With the abuse of this technology being on the rise, current policies to regulate its use need to be increased and strengthened. 


Sources 


Briscoe, Scott. “U.S. Laws Address Deepfakes”. Advancing Security Worldwide, 12 Jan. 2021, https://www.asisonline.org/security-management-magazine/latest-news/today-in-security/2021/january/U-S-Laws-Address-Deepfakes/.

Çolak, Betül. “Legal Issues of Deepfakes”. The Institute for Internet & The Just Society, 19 Jan. 2021, https://www.internetjustsociety.org/legal-issues-of-deepfakes.

Sample, Ian. “What are Deepfakes – And How Can You Spot Them?”, The Guardian, 13 Jan. 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/jan/13/what-are-deepfakes-and-how-can-you-spot-them.

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