Imagine Will Smith in “The Matrix” or Brad Pitt taking the starring role in “The Shining”? No? But what if your memory could be warped to believe it did happen? A fascinating recent study showed that convincingly forged clips known as ‘Deepfakes’ can trick people into accepting false memories - creative remakes which never happened.
Researchers at University College Cork in Ireland presented 436 participants with these brilliantly executed, alternate reality masterpieces. It was all part of a PLOS One paper, showing how memory deception is possible by simply using shrewdly deepfaked movie makeovers.
Subjects devoured video smorgasbords featuring imagined comebacks like Charlize Theron starring in “Captain Marvel,” or even Chris Pratt replacing Harrison Ford in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Incredibly, an average of 49% of viewers fell for the fabrication! In a twist worthy of a Hollywood drama, 41% claimed Theron’s supposed recasting outshone the original.
However, plot twists ensued when text descriptions alone managed similar manipulation feats. Proving Deepfakes are not only crafty but perhaps unnecessary to hoodwink people into accepting these fallacious mythos the memories concocted.
“There are very real harms posed by deep fakes,” cautioned Gillian Murphy, lead author and misinformation czarina at University College Cork, while urging measured responses towards such technologies. The findings hint towards existing forms of misinformation being as powerful as deepfakes.
Murphy argues against hasty reactions fueled by fear around emerging technological marvels: “We shouldn’t jump to predictions of dystopian futures… we should always gather evidence for those harms… before rushing to solve problems we’ve just assumed might exist,” told The Daily Beast
Yet amid misconceptions and mischief woven around deepfake technology, resilience endures. As Murphy suggests, fostering technological literacy could be our first line of defense against manipulated media.
Nevertheless, with generative AI relentlessly inching towards seamless simulation capabilities — beware! Complacency like this may afford tech the chance to retouch our yesterdays with distressing precision.
From now on it’s not just silver screen celebs stepping into another’s shoes — it’s their digitized duplicates! Ready those 3D glasses folks — this rollercoaster ride into a remixed past is about to get wilder than ever!