Filtering Grandma

The Bridge: AI is on the rise! DeepFakes are all over the internet already, meaning it’s no longer a sure thing that the video of Tom Cruise you’re watching is actually Tom Cruise! What repercussions are there in the real world as these technologies progress?

DeepFakes: Not just for porn anymore

The proliferation of synthetic media is relatively new – they started as unsophisticated, clumsy, easy to spot. Most of the uses were pornographic. It was a way for horny youngsters to see Wonder Woman in a compromising position, using the faces of popular actresses and the bodies of whoever they fancied to create digital sex scenes.

The tech has evolved and gotten more sophisticated. Already, folks are having a hard time telling the difference between a real speech and one given with the help of a machine. Think it doesn’t apply to you? Maybe you don’t listen to politicians or celebrities anyway – so what would it matter?

Imagine receiving a FaceTime call from the young person in your life. You answer, and they’re visibly upset. “Mom/Grandma/Auntie,” they say, “I’m in a lot of trouble. I can’t tell my Dad/my parents. I need you to send me some money/your social security number/your pin.”

Under the right circumstances, these sorts of scams could easily proliferate. One picture from a social media account, a few lines of code and a voice sample from a video posted long ago and forgotten about – a convincing moving, talking copy of your kid could exist in the blink of an eye with a startling degree of realism.

So what’s this about filtering grandma?

Amazon plans to roll out a feature for its Alexa that will mimic the voice of your deceased loved ones (no thank you), and an app called Deep Nostalgia from the folks at MyHeritage is animating the dead (still in 2D, for now).

What does all this mean for the tech savvy younger gens? Well, they’re going to have a hell of a time sifting through the truth, for one thing. Whether it’s good or bad is up for debate. Gen-Z is pretty cynical already, so they take the internet with a big-ole lump of salt as it is.

The rise of DeepFakes might sound like another harmless tech trend, but it has some real-world implications that border on frightening: what do you do if you can’t believe your ears or your eyes?

At least the technology is limited to online – for now!

itme! // freepik x L. Aguayo

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