Recently, Kathryn Harrison, the founder of the DeepTrust Alliance, made a presentation at the Ethereal Virtual Summit. Her presentation was on how blockchain technology could be used to prevent Deepfakes. She focused on the dangers that deepfakes pose and the difficulty of finding them. However, YouTube shut down her presentation over suspicion that it was a deepfake.
What Are Deepfakes ?
Today, the main problem is cheapfakes. These are created using relatively simple tools such as Photoshop, which have been around for decades. However, deepfakes, which are more advanced, are becoming cheaper and easier to create.
A deepfake is a video, image, or audio, which is created using AI. The video, audio, or image, generated can easily pass to be a real person. The technology used to generate is called Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN). Professor Goodfellow at the University of Montreal created it; he now works at Apple. With GAN technology, you can easily spread misinformation or discredit anyone. According to a research paper, deepfakes surfaced around 2017 when machine learning techniques were able to swap out celebrity faces for pornography videos. In addition, the technique has been used to fuel financial fraud, hoaxes, and fake news.
YouTube Shuts Down Presentation on Deepfakes
Kathryn Harris revealed via her Twitter account that YouTube had shut down her presentation at the Ethereal Virtual Summit over suspicion that it might be a deepfake. According to her, the reason YouTube shut down her presentation is that it included a screenshot of a deepfake video. It caused the YouTube algorithm to believe the entire presentation was a deepfake and thus shut it down.
The Hilarity of the Shutdown
Kathryn Harrison founded the DeepTrust Alliance. The alliance is a global coalition that is dedicated to fighting misinformation online by focusing on eliminating deefakes from the internet. Her presentation during the Ethereal Virtual Summit was focused on this. Thus, it came as a major surprise to her that her video was blocked on YouTube.
It highlights how difficult it is to track down deepfakes on the internet. Besides YouTube, major social media platforms have a major problem trying to track down and stop deepfakes. Harrison formerly worked at IBM as the Director of Global Product Management for IBM Blockchain. In her role, she was in charge of developing and delivering contributions made by IBM to the Hyperledger and the development of blockchain software products by the company. She is a firm believer in the power of the blockchain to help stop deepfakes.
Disproportionate Effect on Women
As she explained during a November 2019 interview, deepfakes have been used to discredit women to a great deal. During the interview, she pointed to data generated by Deeptrace. The data revealed that
A good example of how deepfakes are used to discredit women, as she pointed out during the interview, is the case of Rana Ayyub, an Indian journalist. Those opposed to her posted deepfakes of her in porn videos and spread them online. Eventually, the UN had to intervene to have the videos taken down.
While YouTube might have taken down her presentation, the issue she is highlighting is a serious one. In the future, the blockchain might be the most effective method to help stop deepfakes from spreading online.
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