OPINION: Presidential “deepfakes” hold dire consequences

By: Riley Hodges

If you’ve been on the internet recently — more specifically Instagram or TikTok — you have likely seen the videos that show our past and current presidents as well as other political or influential figures playing video games together

These are called “AI Deepfakes” where new technology makes possible realistic videos of people doing or saying things they never did. 

The presidential gaming videos have skyrocketed in popularity, and to be fair, it is quite entertaining to watch these political figures in silly situations and interacting with each other in funny and oftentimes vulgar ways. 

Walking through the hallways in school and sitting and eating at lunch, you can see people watching these clips and talking about ones they’ve seen.

Everyone seems to find all these videos really funny; however, these videos have very serious implications. Fake news has already been a source of paranoia and worry, but someday sources of fake news will have fake videos that “prove” their lies. 

And even worse than everyone believing fakes, no one will be able to know what is true or false. Even if the news was real, so many people may find it hard to believe because of the existence of deepfakes.

The use of deepfake technology for the spreading of fake news has already happened; however, it was unsuccessful. A video came out last year that showed Ukrainian President Zelensky telling Ukrainians to put down their weapons and surrender. It was proven to be fake because his head in the video appeared too large and the audio sounded strange.

Even outside of the political world, this could end up being a source for problems. Eventually this technology could be so versatile and easy to access that people could make deepfakes of other people. The drama and stress that could bleed into people’s lives could be detrimental.

Imagine a group of kids all go out for a night but chose not to invite a certain person. This person may one day be able to make videos of the other kids saying or doing terrible things, and then send it out and tarnish reputations.

As primitive as the technology is today, it will advance in the future and could easily lead to quite a few world and societal problems.

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