17 June 2020, 20:00
The Hmm ON deepfakes
Are deepfakes the newest weapon for spreading fake news? Or is it just harmless fun? Deepfake videos, in which two realities are morphed together, are increasingly circulating on the internet. Tonight we will dive into this internet phenomenon through three different perspectives.
Do you remember Nancy Pelosi stumbling through a speech? Mark Zuckerberg finally confessing to the total control that Facebook exerts over its users and their data? Or Obama calling Donald Trump a complete dipshit? These videos show the possibilities of deepfake technologies. Rapidly spreading through our digital feeds, they’re often seen as a serious concern.
The 2016 U.S. election and the Brexit vote opened the public’s eyes to the influence and consequences of ‘fake news’. Intensifying the impact of fake news, deepfakes pose a new threat to our fragile sense of reality. With the U.S. presidential elections happening this fall, and increasing political polarisation throughout the EU, there are concerns that a convincing deepfake video of a political candidate could harm our democracy.
But is being afraid of deepfake videos a productive attitude? Is the strong influence on elections of ‘fake news’ the problem or are the existing structures of our political systems to blame? And do deepfakes also have creative potential? We invited 3 guests to help find answers to these questions.
The Hmm on …
This is the first edition of a five-part series of focus evenings at Felix Meritis, kindly supported by the Creative Industries fund and Amsterdam Fund for the Arts.
We’re using face filters to make ourselves prettier, track our daily steps on our iPhones, and rely on Google Maps to find our destination. But what exactly is the impact of these technologies? With this five-part series, hosted by Felix Meritis in Amsterdam, we reflect on these playful, serious, and sometimes disturbing developments in internet culture.
Giorgio is founder and CEO of Deeptrace, an organisation that is researching and mapping the deepfake landscape. In their 2019 report, they revealed that the number of deepfake videos has almost doubled, spurred on by the growing tools and services which lower the barrier for non-experts to create deepfakes. Giorgio will show how deepfakes are used now and what we should be careful of in the future.
Jaron is currently a researcher at the Institute for Media Studies at KU Leuven. He completed his postdoctoral research at the Institute for Information Law of the University of Amsterdam, where he studied the role of algorithms in news provision. With his background in sociology, Jaron will help us unpack the moral panic surrounding deepfakes and question whether the problem of deepfakes lies in the technology itself or the ways our political and social systems are susceptible to it.
During her talk at The Hmm last year, Lenka showed us how she used deepfake technology to make herself smile on a picture. Lenka is an independent research designer and visual speculator from Prague. With her project The Collective Vision of Synthetic Reality she collects people’s ideas about how the post-deepfake reality will look and how AI-generated and synthetic media will settle in our visual culture. Tonight Lenka will show us the creative potential of deepfakes.