A deepfake (or deep fake) is a picture or video created with the help of artificial intelligence that looks authentic but is not. Also the methods and techniques in this context are labeled with the term. Machine learning and especially deep learning are used. With deepfakes one wants to create objects of art and visual objects or means for discreditation, manipulation and propaganda. Politics and pornography are therefore closely interwoven with the phenomenon. According to Futurism, Facebook is teaming up with a consortium of Microsoft researchers and several prominent universities for a “Deepfake Detection Challenge”. “The idea is to build a data set, with the help of human user input, that’ll help neural networks detect what is and isn’t a deepfake. The end result, if all goes well, will be a system that can reliably fake videos online. Similar data sets already exist for object or speech recognition, but there isn’t one specifically made for detecting deepfakes yet.” (Futurism, 5 September 2019) The winning team will get a prize – presumably a higher sum of money. Facebook is investing a total of 10 million dollars in the competition.
Deep fakes are a young phenomenon. Of course there have been fake videos for a long time. But that artificial intelligence makes the production possible, even in standard applications, is new. On August 1, an article dedicated to the phenomenon was published in the German newspaper Die Welt. It begins with the following words: “It is well known that a picture says more than a thousand words. And moving images, i.e. videos, are still regarded as unmistakable proof that something has taken place exactly as it can be seen in the film. … Powerful artificial intelligence (AI) processes now make it possible to produce such perfect counterfeits that it is no longer possible to tell with the naked eye whether a video is real or manipulated. In so-called deep fake videos, people say or do things they would never say or do.” Among others, the philosopher Oliver Bendel is quoted. The article with the title “Artificial intelligence could trigger wars” can be downloaded via www.welt.de.