In a rapidly changing technological era, reality is quickly becoming indistinguishable from fiction. Sachin Tendulkar’s recent brush with a deepfake video highlights the dark side of AI and its ill effects. Tendulkar was dismayed by the viral video that showed him promoting a gaming app called ‘Skyward Aviator Quest’.
He turned to Twitter to express his concern about the rampant misuse of technology. He further stated that it is disturbing to see such fake videos. In the above episode, AI technology won another battle by fooling people and spreading false information.
What are deepfakes? – The Technology Behind it.
They are synthetic media consisting of images or audio-visuals. They are made using AI technology to mimic real-world people. Thus, deepfakes result from AI-driven’ deep learning’ for producing ‘fake’ content.
The technology behind creating deepfakes has dramatically improved. Machines today use generative AI for communications and learning systems. They have evolved to operate without human need, resulting in the creation of fake content faster and of better quality.
They further leverage sophisticated neural network architectures to analyze and replicate any audio-visual patterns. This technology makes fake content that resembles reality and can mimic the facial expressions of real subjects.
The Ethical And Societal Concerns of Deepfake Technology.
The rampant prevalence of deepfakes in the digital world affects all information-related sectors. Apart from identity theft, they create false narratives, damage reputations, and infringe upon privacy. Let us see in closer detail its impact on our daily lives:-
News and Journalism:
Deepfakes have become a potent tool for spreading false information and influencing narratives. They have been in the news recently over numerous famous incidents. Let us see some of the examples of their recent misuse:
- During the Russia-Ukraine War, one video depicting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky went viral. The footage showed Zelensky urging the Ukrainian citizens to surrender. Zelensky swiftly debunked the fake video, and all social media platforms removed it afterwards.
This incident showed how AI-generated deepfakes can cause real-time harm. In severe situations like war, AI can become an instrument for spreading fake news.
- Deepfakes have also mimicked influential Western journalists like Anderson Cooper, Clarissa Ward and Gayle King. These fake videos compromise the credibility of journalism and confuse the public.
What is common to the above three images?
All three are fakes. The above image, which shows an explosion at the Pentagon – caused a brief panic in the stock market exchanges. These images showcase the capacity of AI technology to create confusion and sway perceptions.
Recently, actress Rashmika Mandana, Shrivalli fame from Pushpa, was a victim of a viral fake video. Later, investigators discovered it was a video of British Indian influencer Zara Patel. The deepfake was created by using sophisticated face-swapping techniques to swap the faces and give a real effect.
Rashmika expressed her shock over the situation. Reflecting further, she shared her helplessness in tackling the situation had it occurred during her school or college years. Emphasizing the urgency of the issue, she requested the community to address such issues with urgency to prevent any such identity theft. Similarly, such fake videos have previously targeted other Bollywood actresses like Alia Bhatt, Aishwarya Rai, Kajol, and Katrina Kaif.
A deepfake video even targeted the Indian PM. The viral video showed him doing the Garba dance, which prompted the PM to highlight and underscore the gravity of the situation.
Strategies for combating Deepfake:
We need a comprehensive plan focused on creating public awareness, formulating proper laws, finding technological solutions, and verifying existing information.
Public Awareness: In order to deal with deepfakes, people need to be more informed and aware. They need to be cautious about the news and information they see online. People should be informed and educated about identifying and reporting deepfakes. MeitY can take the lead in organizing workshops, online courses, and educational campaigns to create information awareness among the public.
Legal Framework: India is among the one of the most susceptible nations for deepfake targeting. The minister of MeitY, Ashwini Vaishnaw, has often recognized the need to improve current laws and reiterated the government’s resolve to create penalties for both creators and platforms. Therefore, an informed discussion involving the participation of all relevant stakeholders is required. It should be followed by appropriate laws which are devised to keep up with the rapid AI advancements.
Technological Solutions: We must find specific and specialized solutions to match the advancements of deepfake technology. The use of technologies like blockchain and AI can prove instrumental. Blockchain can track the origin of the video, and AI can help check the video for any tampering.
Verification Tools: News websites can further boost public confidence by providing AI Bots/assistants to authenticate online information easily. These AI assistants can help people establish the authenticity of any information.
The Road Ahead with Deepfakes.
Deepfakes will only grow more sophisticated and complex in the future. Our discussion has shown how deepfakes impact various fields, including news and politics, thus changing the narratives and public perception. By altering information, deepfakes are blurring the line between real and artificial content daily. Furthermore, the targeting of celebrated people by deepfakes showing them indulging in controversial acts raises significant privacy concerns.
The future needs us to combine technology, laws, and public awareness. This approach is necessary to fully address the complex problems caused by deepfakes.
Sachin Tendulkar’s Stand against Deepfake and Our Call to Action.
The ‘Tendulkar episode’ should act as a call to action for all of us. It prompts us to recognize and unite in our fight against the potential misuse of AI technology. By combining awareness, legal action and technological innovation, we can collectively safeguard the integrity of our digital world.
The battle with deepfakes is about more than just preserving the truth; it’s about maintaining the integrity of our digital space. It is about ensuring that the digital space remains an extension of our physical space, not a distortion of it.
The journey ahead remains complex due to the deception posed by the deepfakes. But we can cross it with coordinated efforts and a steady commitment towards preserving truth. The fight against deepfakes is more than a technological challenge. It is a challenge of human resolve to uphold the sanctity of truth in our increasingly digital world.