Ever since the advent of “deepfake” technology – apps and services that can be used to make fake images and videos of someone appear extremely real – there has been concern in the political world that it could be used for disinformation.
Experts have warned repeatedly, including at a congressional hearing, that such technology would make it very difficult for the average voter to spot a deepfake and could wreak havoc in the political process.
It can also be used to create hilarious, obviously fake videos, but the very real concerns are still there.
Warning: Funny obviously fake videos below.
The problem with deepfakes, the experts suspect, is that they can look so real that at first you don’t realize anything is wrong. This can be very misleading for voters and has put politicians and media groups on high alert about something like this.
Ahead of the 2020 election, several major outlets — Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, and others — ran ads by a group called RepresentUS that featured deepfakes by Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un about the dangers to American democracy.
But in northern Louisiana, a political group was among the first to create a deepfake ad targeting Mayor Adrian Perkins.
As News Radio 710 KEEL reported earlier this week, the group People Over Politics published an anti-Perkins ad that used deepfake technology. However, this was obviously more of a parody of Perkins than an attempt to make it appear that he did something he didn’t do.
The ad, which summons a Perkins look-alike into the principal’s office, features a convincing image of Perkins’ head on a student’s body, and the character’s voice in the video is even said to sound like him.
According to the Louisiana Radio Network’s coverage, People Over Politics is funded by a New Orleans developer named Anthony Marullo III.
[La Politics editor] Alford says Marullo bought property in Shreveport but was upset with the city leadership, who paid so much for the ads. Alford believes this is the first time such technology has been used in a Louisiana political advertisement. But with the statewide races coming up next year, he believes their impact will resonate far beyond northwest Louisiana.
“The big story here isn’t this video that made it to TV. The big story here is what’s next?” Alford said.
Is using this technology in a way that isn’t meant to maliciously fool people fair game? It’s difficult to say.
Such technology is associated with great risks. There are people who are tricked into believing that certain ads, videos or images are real and end up believing something that is not true. While no sane person could believe that Perkins is actually being called into a principal’s office for his performance as mayor, the same technology could be used to place him in situations that seem more real.
There is a fine line when it comes to ethics and, as Alford suggests above, this could be the start of something much bigger.
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https://kpel965.com/louisiana-political-ad-uses-deepfake-technology-and-goes-viral-is-this-a-new-trend/ Louisiana Political Ad Uses ‘Deepfake’ Technology And Goes Viral – Is This A New Trend?