Deep fake videos are on the rise, as the technology employed to create them becomes more and more ubiquitous. If you’ve used the popular “ReFace” app, then you’ve already gotten yourself somewhat familiar the process of making a deep fake video. While that application is meant for fun, and probably doesn’t pose much of a threat to society, can the same be said of deep fake videos meant to impersonate political figures?
Recently, on an episode of Talkin’ Tech with Techies, hosts Mitch Mitcherson and Katie Katherinesen discussed what the future might look like if presidents — past and future — could be replicated using deep fake tech.
“Using AI, we could recreate speeches and events that never happened. It seems like a double edged sword with presidents,” Katherinesen said. “I just hope that it never gets used for someone who’s in power to make it seem like they’re ordering us into a nuclear war or something.”
During their discussion, the pair wondered what kind of tech it would take to make a fake version of former, one-term, twice-forever impeached President Donald J. Trump. They both agreed the AI needed to create an analogue for Trump would need to “be able to say incoherent things, brag, and try to suck its own dick” or it wouldn’t pass the sniff test, much less the Turing Test. While Katherinesen and Mitcherson didn’t dive much more into the subject, we decided to contact two doctors of computer science and ask them if it’s possible to create a Donald Trump deep fake, and what kind of tech you’d need.
Dr. Steve Stephenson, Prof. of Robotics, Lower Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Shit
In theory, I suppose you could use programming to teach a computer how to be stupid, and make it progressively stupid the longer it stays online. However, I would have many concerns, not the least of which is whether it’s right or fair, or ethical really, to intentionally make someone, or yes, someTHING, as stupid as Don Trump. That’s like hitting a baby on the head with a rubber mallet over and over again. These are the questions we must ask ourselves as ethical scientists.
Dr. Kimberly Leekim, Prof. of Computer Intelligence, University of East California
I just don’t see how you convince a computer to let you do that to them. How do you design something so stupid? As far as I know, there isn’t a computer in existence that will submit to such humiliation. But in a purely academic sense, sure, I guess it’s possible to write an algorithm so dumb it makes you think you’re talking to Don Trump.
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Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook, Spotify, and Instagram, but not Twitter because Twitter is a cesspool.