Media, government seem clued into the danger of deepfakes. Just hope it’s not too late
For whatever reason, concern and even fright is building over deepfakes. The concerns are real, it just is not clear why the last three weeks has seen multiple news stories pop into the news stream.
Using grade-school wordplay to name a deepfake business no doubt gave some people pause.
Some took careful note that Connect Ventures, the lead investor in Deep Voodoo is the partnership of venture firm New Enterprise Associates, which has been deeply involved in technology companies for decades. The other partner is Creative Artists Agency, which is its own nexus point of mega-power in content.
Almost everyone, however, held their breath when reading that the startup was created by Matt Stone and Trey Parker, fathers of the low-resolution adult animated comedy show so routinely transgressive that viewers no longer marvel to themselves; How could they ever top that?
They are comedy stars of the first order, but they also could be the First Order of comedy stars.
On the same day that the investment was announced, The Atlantic, a long-form journalism publisher noted for not caring if its sentences cannot be read by adults who read at a seventh-grade level, posted a story with the headline: We Haven’t Seen the Worse of Fake News. But its browser tab reads: It’s Time to Worry.
The story is a primer on deepfake technology, how it has been used to date and, of course, how it could reduce life on earth to radioactive broth.
A not dissimilar piece of analysis was published last week by Global News, a Canadian publication.
But that’s hyperbole, right?
News publisher and cable channel CNBC is reporting on how China is readying “first of its kind” regulation to control deepfakes domestically. The always-nervous authoritarians running China are stepping up regulation of any digital information to make sure it does not disturb Beijing’s masters.
But they know one unvetted idea that gets out can overturn things, so they are also readying a law managing how tech companies can use recommendation algorithms. That would go a long way in preventing anything dangerous from ever getting out in the wild.
And across the Taiwan Strait from China, Taiwanese legislators this week are crafting content-controlling legislation, part of which addresses deepfakes. People producing and disseminating deepfakes would face five years in jail – seven if profit is the motive, according to Taipei Times.
The Atlantic might be hyperventilating by saying it is time to worry, but a consensus seems to be building behind “we haven’t seen the worst of fake news.”