Email to my MP.
Dear Mr MacAskill,
I am concerned about the rise in the digital phenomenon of ‘deepfakes’ being presented to everyday social media and internet users and call on your support for tougher legislation.
‘Deepfakes’ is the method of creating a false representation of someone by using artificial intelligence systems to superimpose the image of one person on to another. This can also be done by audio techniques to create misrepresentation of someone’s voice
There are legitimate uses of this technology which offer benefits and entertainment to society. Recently we have seen the late Carrie Fisher reprise her younger self in ‘Rogue One, A Star Wars Story’ through use of clever ‘CGI’ technology and no doubt, we can expect this technology to entertain us for the future.
Audio representation can be put to good use for medical reasons. An article in The Verge https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/29/21080553/ftc-deepfakes-audio-cloning-joe-rogan-phone-scams recently highlights the use of creating audio samples to be used for patients losing their voice as part of a program in the Boston Children’s Hospital.
Despite the benefits, the misuse of this technology is something that concerns me. Particularly in the way that it can influence opinion in a political situation or used maliciously against an individual. We have heard of many instances of famous people misrepresented in pornography. The damage to reputations of everyday people such as teachers, doctors or lawyers could be unthinkable.
We have recently finalised withdrawal from the European Union. But how many opinions in this vote may have been influenced by seeing deepfake videos?
As reported in the BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-51018758 , Facebook plan to ban such instances of deepfakes and I feel legislation is surely required to further enforce social media companies to police their platforms and for offenders to be identified and punished under law.