Just Ahead: Deep Fakes And Shallow Reality

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Mar 03, 2024 - 04:40 PM

Authored by James Gorrie via The Epoch Times,

You’ve probably already seen deep fake videos portraying events that never happened in feeds from the wars in Gaza and Ukraine. The videos are so realistic that neither you nor I can tell that they’re fake.

A phone displaying a statement from the head of security policy at Meta, in front of a screen displaying a deepfake video of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky calling on his soldiers to lay down their weapons, in Washington on Jan. 30, 2023. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

In fact, you can now watch a video, clear as a bell, of a person who is no longer alive. That person can be with you, on screen, talking to you, interacting with you as well.

Soon enough, that person will be standing in the room with you. Yes, hologram technology has come a long way. For the past few years, there have been hologram concerts with dead performers appearing on stage before thousands of people, singing their best songs—from the grave. It’s really taking off.

Other uses include helping family members grieve for a loved one by “bringing them back to life” holographically for the family to talk to. Sounds more like deceiving than grieving, but hey, that’s just me.

Mass Deception Around the Corner?

But what does this deep fakery and visual deception technology really add up to in the very near future, if not at this very moment?

There are a couple of phrases that come to mind. “Mass deception” is one. “The very best in fake news” is another. “The end of reality” is a third one, but does it seem rather over-the-top?

I wish I could say it does. But when we’ve seen fake news about fake collusion with Russia, fake ballots, fake trials about fake real estate fraud (“fake fraud” is now a thing), and fake presidents, well, the over-the-top threshold has gotten much higher of late.

The New Reality? There’s No Need for It

Reality no longer bites, as we used to say in my youth, but rather, reality is bytes. Bytes of data can and do shape our reality every day. And that’s the problem. It’s a very BIG problem, for several reasons.

Do you recall the announcement from the Biden administration about the formation of the Disinformation Governance Board back in April 2022?

You may not, as it was yanked because of lots of pushback from the conservative side after just a couple of weeks as a division of the Department of Homeland Security. But the point is that it was there, and given the direction in which things are headed, care to bet that it won’t return as the deep fakes begin to hit the fan in this election year?

More to the point, how will you and I determine that what we watch on the news, what we see on our most trusted internet news sites, is actually real? How will we know that it actually happened, or is happening as we watch it “live?”

Are We Really at War?

Imagine, for instance, with U.S. military forces deployed in the Red Sea, that we “witness” a large U.S. Naval vessel get attacked, with a large loss of life. What if we see with our own eyes the flag of the attacking forces waving from their ship as they launch their attack?

War is declared, many of our rights are suspended, food is rationed, money is issued in fixed amounts, and anyone complaining about “the new reality” gets sent to a “change-your-attitude” camp, or worse?

That’s what a Disinformation Governance Board would be used for, wouldn’t it?

Election Integrity—Really?

On a much more pressing note, how will we actually know and believe the outcome of an election? What if a candidate has a news conference and tells the nation that he’s ceding the election to his opponent, even if he actually won the election?

All that—and certainly much more—could be deep faked with AI and disseminated to all of us over all of the “trusted and verified” news networks that have been approved by a newly re-branded Disinformation Governance Board.

The trope that in order to save our democracy, we had to kill it might not even be necessary.

What may be necessary, however, to make the DGB’s job (by the way, what does the “DGB” remind you of?) easier and more manageable would be to limit the sources of news to those approved news outlets that tell the approved truth.

And the others, like this one?

I can hear it now, for the sake of election integrity, unapproved news sources will be scrubbed from the internet. They’ll quickly be de-platformed, de-monetized, and de-based, meaning they will no longer have an audience, and nor do you have a say on reality, what’s real and what’s fake.

They’ve done it before. Remember how free speech was essentially banned over the internet?

The upshot is that we’re on the edge of a new reality, where no one will know a deep fake when they see one, and reality will begin when life ends.

Your Last Reality Check?

And the deep fakes? They’re only going to get even more realistic and more convincing so that realism and reality can’t be discerned.

That subtle distinction may soon become the dividing line for how we live our lives. We may see news feeds that look “realistic,” but we will have to ask ourselves, “Are they, in fact, real?”

Realism may become the primary value of news, with reality discarded as nothing more than an artifact of a bygone world.

This has been a reality check. Cash it while you can.

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Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times or ZeroHedge.