Computer scientist Supasorn Suwajanakorn recently delivered a talk on fake videos for TED, in which he discusses the rise of digital avatars that can be used to emulate real people, to say and do things that they likely never would.
Although these videos can be incredibly dangerous, given that they can seemingly embody world leaders and other figures whose words have great influence and power, the groundbreaking technology can also be used for a range of positive purposes. An example of this is the recent development of a project called 'New Dimensions in Testimony,' which allows people to have interactive conversations with the hologram of a holocaust survivor.
After discussing how these digital avatars can be used in different ways, Suwajanakorn shows how they are made. By breaking down the process, Suwajanakorn shows just how easy it is to achieve realistic results. In order to combat this, browser extensions like 'Reality Defender' have been created, which work by flagging videos that could potentially be fake.
Although tools like this are useful in promoting the safe use of digital avatars, Suwajanakorn states that it's important to always maintain a critical approach when consuming media as technology is constantly evolving.