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From porn to ‘Game of Thrones’: How deepfakes and realistic-looking fake videos hit it big
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When a fake porn video purporting to depict Gal Gadot having sex with her stepbrother surfaced online in December , the reaction was swift and immediate. Two years later, a number of powerful entities have taken steps to push back against the threat posed by deceptive videos, especially in the realm of politics. Facebook announced a ban on deepfakes last week, while Congress has lately earmarked millions of dollars for the development of technology to detect them. But the fear of sexual deepfakes still looms large in conversations about online harassment. Politicians, celebrities, even regular, unfamous women with vindictive ex-boyfriends have all been held up as potential victims of this high-tech form of abuse.
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Deepfakes, AI-manipulated videos that often make it appear as if someone is doing or saying something they never actually did, have entered mainstream culture. In , deepfakes or high-profile edits have disrupted politics, mocked the most popular TV show in the world, and inspired action by US senators and the Pentagon. The manipulations are relatively new, only surfacing from individual Reddit users in , most often putting celebrity faces into pornographic movies. Their rapid development from porn to popular culture has researchers scrambling to keep up in an effort to create detection software that could prevent deepfakes from being used to spread disinformation. Read more stories like this on Business Insider. The mode of manipulation, and deepfakery as a pastime, was seemingly popularized around pornography, in which denizens of certain online communities would swap celebrity faces with those found in porn. Now, following earlier warnings in around the initial deepfake movement, the nightmare scenario has become a reality as some of the most influential people in the world, and their audiences, have become targets of deepfakers. The videos were significant because they marked the first notable instance of a single person who was able to easily and quickly create high-quality and convincing fake videos. According to AI-researcher Alex Champandard, who spoke to Vice, the process of creating a deepfake could take just a few hours with a consumer-grade graphics card.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York whose outspokenness and progressive views have made her a target of conservatives, lashed out at the right-wing news site The Daily Caller after it posted an article on Monday showing a photo that had been falsely described as a nude selfie of the congresswoman with an emphasis on her feet. Confused yet? A photo that was apparently taken by a woman in a bathtub, showing her from the shins down, had been making the rounds on social media. This led people to describe the photo as a nude selfie. The photo was only the most recent attempt to sully the reputation of Ms.