Deepfake videos of Tom Cruise show the technology’s threat to society is very real

New deepfake videos of actor Tom Cruise have made their way onto TikTok under the handle @deeptomcruise, and boy do they look real. They’re so realistic, in fact, it’s possible that you wouldn’t even know they’re computer-generated had you not been alerted by the account’s handle. And they were made using not much more than sample footage of Cruise and deepfake technology that’s getting easier for anyone to use.

Not even two years ago it would have been easy to differentiate between a real and an AI-generated video of somebody. But the technology is advancing so rapidly that we’ve reached a point of escape velocity, and it’s obvious that deepfakery isn’t going to be used just for innocent purposes, like animating pictures of your past relatives.

SEEING IS BELIEVING — In a series of tweets, Rachel Tobac, the CEO of SocialProof Security, warns that deepfakes like @deeptomcruise threaten to further erode public trust in a world where media literacy is poor and people already can’t agree on what’s true or false. Like the black and gold dress, where one person might notice giveaways that the Tom Cruise videos are synthesized, another might not know the signs of a fake and swear up and down that they’re real.

“Just because you feel you can personally tell the difference between synthetic & authentic media, it doesn’t mean we’re good to go,” she says. “It matters what the general public believes.”

Deepfakes are especially dangerous because video is widely considered indisputable evidence. A prominent individual could be deepfaked into performing a hate crime, or a person who legitimately committed an unjust act could use deepfakes to craft an alibi.

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Tom Maxwell – 2/26/2021 6:19 PM
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