How will deepfake video technology change “your” life and how will it change how we see others? Will we ever trust videos again?
In the digital world, the movement of your mouth can be altered, the sound of your voice can be replicated, the content of your speech can be beautified, too. Your mouth is like a blank canvas that can be made to express literally anything. Is there you wouldn’t want people to think you said? Or that you would like to say but can’t? Deepfake technology can change all of that. In India in early 2020, a local politician created a deepfake video of himself that was distributed widely on WhatsApp, which made him seem like he was speaking a language he did not know.
Fun video filters on social media can already swap your face in a video with a cute animal or your favourite film star, or can transport your face into different scenarios. Today more than 95% of these types of deepfakes put people's faces into unpleasant and compromising positions on other people's bodies. Consider which real-life scenes you would not want to be transferred into, like parties, protests or even riots that you were never at.
Deepfake videos can make your body move in different ways – your arms, legs or your whole body can be seen doing things it normally can’t. This technology can be fun but it can also be used by others to make "your" body do things "you" never did. Presenting them with body types and movements tailored to their online preferences.
Automated actions like auto-fill already help us send quick replies or fill in forms without us having to think about what to do or say – but how does this change who we are to others?
There seem to be no limits to how we can improve the way we present ourselves. In fact, we don’t have to be ourselves at all. Are you always sure that the person you are watching in a video is real?
Your After Life
Will we eventually get used to creating digital versions of ourselves from different periods of our lives as easily as we upload our DNA to ancestry services or create a realistic 3D-printed model? Will we be able to make ourselves digitally available forever?