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The Many Faces of Deepfake Technology

The word ‚Deepfake‘ is quite clearly a combination of two everyday words, “deep” and “fake”. Deep refers here to the AI technology involved, which is known as deep learning. Deepfake technology is used in synthetic media to create falsified content, replacing or synthesizing faces, speech, and manipulating emotions. It is used to digitally imitate an action by a person that he or she did not commit.

The first steps towards this technology were made in the 90s by academic institutions and were later adopted by a wider audience. Although the creation of deepfake programs is not mainstream, the concept has nonetheless managed to make a lot of noise in the media space.

A deepfake tool letting users animate old photos of relatives has been widely used and the company behind it, MyHeritage, has now added LiveStory, which allows voices to be added.

But there was a mixed reaction last year, when South Korean TV network MBN announced it was using a deepfake of newsreader Kim Joo-Ha. Some were impressed how realistic it was, others concerned the real Kim Joo-Ha would lose her job.

Deepfake technology is also being used to create pornography, with a proliferation, in recent years, of websites letting users „nudify“ pictures.

And it can be used for satirical purposes – last year, Channel 4 created a deepfake Queen to deliver an alternative Christmas message.

The use of deepfakes in politics remains relatively rare even though a deepfake of former US President Barack Obama has been created, to demonstrate the technology’s power.

Find everything you need to know about Deepfake and How It Works here

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