Apple helped to usher in the 4K revolution before the 2K revolution got off the ground– thanks to Apple TV 4K which lets you stream better than ultra high definition video to your 4K HDR television.
What does all this mean?
Thanks to rapid technological progress on the front end– 8K high resolution video streams– and technology which can create perfect fakes on the back end– we are about to enter a new order of fake videos where actors, politicians, and even your neighbor can be made to say anything you (or nefarious people with access to the technology) want them to say and it will look and sound perfectly believable.
What is real just won’t mean what it used to mean.
Technology, in some ways, besides making our lives more convenient, is about stimulating and simulating our five senses: Sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. The goal is to emulate “the real”.
In other words, what is not real can look real, if not better than real, and thanks to other technological advances what looks real can be absolutely positively fake.
When it comes to sight, thanks to the incredible improvement in display technology of the past decade, visual realness seems close at hand. And the introduction of 8K resolution will be an important milestone in that direction.
Add sound to that and you get what is called deepfake whereby a video that looks and sounds completely real– the president speaking or an actor acting– is completely high technology fake.
Think of Apple’s Face ID and how it is used to create personalized Memoji. Sure, they’re cute, and there might be some resemblance to your facial expressions, but it’s your voice on the cartoon.
That’s entertainment. Deepfakes are more than entertainment. They’re dangerous.
Deepfakes have been used to create fake celebrity pornographic videos or revenge porn. Deepfakes can also be used to create fake news and malicious hoaxes
It isn’t a technology that is coming. Deepfake is already here and there seems to be nothing that can prevent its advancement into higher resolution, facial expressions and movements that are difficult to tell apart from the original (people), and even voices that sound exactly like someone but all fake.
They say The Truth is Out There. Maybe so, maybe not as much as you think because deepfakes will have an outsized impact on credibility and authenticity, much as the interwebs, Fox News, YouTube, Facebook, and other technology has subverted what is real.
An effect of deepfakes is that it can no longer be distinguished whether content is targeted (e.g. satire) or genuine. AI researcher Alex Champandard has said everyone should know how fast things can be corrupted today with this technology, and that the problem is not a technical one, but rather one to be solved by trust in information and journalism. The primary pitfall is that humanity could fall into an age in which it can no longer be determined whether a medium’s content corresponds to the truth.
Like encryption, deepfake is out of the toothpaste tube and it won’t go back inside. This coming new world order may be an impressive use of technology but it will not benefit mankind.