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We're researching the potential impacts of deepfakes on society

Deepfakes risk fuelling misinformation, eroding trust, and compromising democracy. We want your help to understand the ethical challenges of this kind of technology and the political responses that are needed.

Challenge 1: Detecting deepfakes

The first challenge is whether society can create the means for detecting a deepfake whether directly at the point of upload or once it has become widely disseminated. Are there means for technologists, regulators and others to detect deepfakes? How can ordinary citizens spot them online?

Challenge 2: Liars dividend

The second challenge relates to a phenomenon known as "the liars dividend" in which genuine footage of controversial content can be dismissed by the subject as a deepfake, despite it being true. How likely is this phenomenon to arise and what are the potential implications for society if it cannot be guarded against?

Challenge 3: Regulation

The third challenge relates to the laws governing the use of deepfakes. What should the limitations be with regards to the creation of deepfakes and what should the implications be when these limits have been broken? Can these laws be enforced in practice?

Challenge 4: Damage limitation

The fourth challenge relates to managing the impacts of deepfakes should regulations fail. It may be the case that deepfakes leave a permanent trail on the internet which may hinder the mental health or future prospects of victims. How can the potential impacts of deepfakes be limited and where should responsibility lie for its limitation?

In this deepfake, released during the 2019 UK General Election, Boris Johnson endorses the Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to be the next UK Prime Minister. This video was produced in collaboration with the UK-based artist, Bill Posters.

In this deepfake, released during the 2019 UK General Election, Jeremy Corbyn endorses Conservative Party leader, Boris Johnson, to continue as UK Prime Minister. This video was produced in collaboration with the UK-based artist, Bill Posters.

Support our research, and share your ideas

The potential effects of deepfakes cut across a broad cross-section of society: law, technology, media, business, and politics to name a few. All of us will need to work together if we are to effectively combat deepfakes. Do you have thoughts or ideas on what needs to be done in order to address the four key challenges we've outlined? If so, please share your ideas by sending an email to areeqchowdhury@futureadvocacy.org.

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