The TikTok account Unreal Keanu Reeves has amassed nearly 9M followers, while a deep fake of Marilyn Monroe on the same platform has 4.7B views. While this shows that most Deepfake images are primarily harmless, some can be doctored or manipulated to deceive us.

For every Political Figures Playing Minecraft, there is a story of tricking European leaders into thinking they’re in video calls with other leaders, stealing tens of millions of dollars in scams and sowing political instability. 

It’s suspected that now some are going next level by generating scripts with GPT, an OpenAI text-writing system. Deepfakes can put doctored images or voices together to create controversy and influence opinion, with some flagging combining deep fakes, virtual avatars, and automated speech generation being a rapidly approaching problem.

But before you throw up your hands in despair and wonder where the world is going, other forms of technology may be able to counter this threat. How can AI, for example, be used to combat deep fake technology?


AI Innovations

Towards the tail end of 2020, Microsoft launched its Video Authenticator. This AI-powered tool can scan a video or image and tell viewers how likely it is to be a deep fake. The device will give a percentage estimate as it uncovers tell-tale signs that may not be discernible to the average person.

Also, researchers at the Universities of California in Berkeley and Southern California are developing machine learning technology. This tech examines soft biometrics (speech patterns and facial quirks) to uncover deep fakes with high accuracy. 

Facebook ran a DeepFake Detection Challenge in 2019 and released a large set of deep fakes (more than 100,000 of them) to help third parties develop AI tools for the future.


Look Closely

In the meantime, studying a video closely can tell you if it is fake. Look for unnatural eye movement, facial expressions, or a lack of ‘expected’ emotion that should match the activity or discussion.


Expect Developments

Deepfakes may be in their infancy, and the perpetrators may be getting more sophisticated — but you can also expect the good guys to up their game. It’s great to know that AI will become an increasingly powerful line of defence against harmful deep fakes.