FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Think tank deploys deepfakes of Johnson and Corbyn to send warning on disinformation
Deepfakes depicting Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn endorsing each other for Prime Minister have been released by the Future Advocacy think tank, in a stunt to raise awareness on the dangers surrounding online disinformation. The think tank is calling on all political parties to work together to tackle the threats posed by deepfakes and other online disinformation tactics.
The think tank and are using the videos to crowdsource potential policy solutions to the threat of deepfakes on democracy and society more widely. This is the first time deepfakes of political candidates have been released during a live election in the UK.
They identify the four key challenges as:
1. Detecting deepfakes – whether society can create the means for detecting a deepfake directly at the point of upload or once it has become widely disseminated.
2. Liar’s dividend – a phenomenon in which genuine footage of controversial content can be dismissed by the subject as a deepfake, despite it being true.
3. Regulation – what should the limitations be with regards to the creation of deepfakes and can these be practically enforced?
4. Damage limitation – managing the impacts of deepfakes when regulation fails and the question of where responsibility should lie for damage limitation.
The videos depict Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, in election-style addresses, endorsing each other to be the next Prime Minister before revealing themselves as deepfakes and warning against the threat of unregulated technologies on society.
Areeq Chowdhury, Head of Think Tank at Future Advocacy, said:
“Deepfakes represent a genuine threat to democracy and society more widely. They can be used to fuel misinformation and totally undermine trust in audiovisual content.
Despite warnings over the past few years, politicians have so far collectively failed to address the issue of disinformation online. Instead the response has been to defer to tech companies to do more. The responsibility for protecting our democracy lies in the corridors of Westminster not the boardrooms of Silicon Valley.
By releasing these deepfakes, we aim to use shock and humour to inform the public and put pressure on our lawmakers. This issue should be put above party politics. We urge all politicians to work together to update our laws and protect society from the threat of deepfakes, fake news, and micro-targeted political adverts online.”
Bill Posters said:
“We’ve used the biometric data of famous UK politicians to raise awareness to the fact that without greater controls and protections concerning personal data and powerful new technologies, misinformation poses a direct risk to everyone’s human rights including the rights of those in positions of power.
It’s staggering that after 3 years, the recommendations from the DCMS Select Committee enquiry into fake news or the Information Commissioner’s Office enquiry into the Cambridge Analytica scandals have not been applied to change UK laws to protect our liberty and democracy. As a result, the conditions for computational forms of propaganda and misinformation campaigns to be amplified by social media platforms are still in effect today. We urge all political parties to come together and pass measures which safeguard future elections.”
Future Advocacy is a non-partisan think tank focused on the economic, social, and political challenges of artificial intelligence and emerging technologies.
The deepfake videos will be released on the morning of Tuesday 12 November 2019 and will be available first on Future Advocacy’s twitter account: @FutureAdvocacy.
Bill Posters is a UK artist known for creating subversive deepfakes of famous celebrities. He is co-creator of the viral deepfake videos of Mark Zuckerberg, Kim Kardashian, and Donald Trump as part of the Spectre project.
The deepfakes were created using generative adversarial networks (GANs).
Information on Future Advocacy’s research into deepfakes can be found at futureadvocacy.org/deepfakes, a page which goes live on the day of the launch.
For press enquiries, please contact Areeq Chowdhury at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone +447581 776 911 (number not for publication).