Will Smith did a great job in The Matrix, didn’t he?
Briefly about how deepfakes can distort our memories.
IN recent study conducted by experts from the University of Cork in Ireland and published in the journal PLOS ONE, participants in the online experiment were victims of false memories of remake films that do not actually exist. The fake memories were created by watching a series of videos using deepfake technology.
deepfakeVideos are AI-generated videos in which the faces or voices of some people are realistically replaced with the faces or voices of others using artificial intelligence.
Recently, deepfake tools have become much cheaper and more accessible, heightening discussions about potential creative possibilities as well as potential risks, such as spreading false information and manipulating viewers’ memory.
To explore the potential risks, Gillian Murphy, one of the study’s authors, and colleagues asked 436 people to participate in an online survey that included watching videos of deepfakes of fake movie remakes starring other actors. For example, Will Smith as Neo (originally played by Keanu Reeves) in The Matrix and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in The Shining. Other fake remakes in the study were video clips from Indiana Jones and Captain Marvel.
For comparison, participants also watched clips from actual remakes, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Total Recall, Carrie, and Lara Croft. Also, in some cases, participants read the text descriptions of the remakes instead of watching the deepfakes. Of course, participants were not told that the deepfakes were false until the end of the survey.
According to Murphy, deepfake videos have generated exactly the same number of false memories as plain text descriptions of fake films. On average, almost half of the participants (49%) believed that the fake remakes were real after watching deepfake videos or fake text descriptions.
Many interviewees even reported that they remember fake remakes better than the originals. However, since the level of false memories from textual descriptions was also high, the deepfake technology did not prove to be particularly powerful compared to other memory distortion tools.
Most of the participants noted that they do not like it when deepfake technology is used in filming, as was the case, for example, in the last parts of the Fast and the Furious franchise with the late Paul Walker. The interviewees mainly cited issues such as lack of respect for artistic integrity and impaired perception of cinema. The results of this study may well help in the development and regulation of technology for replacing faces and voices in films.
Regarding the manipulation of memories, the researchers specifically noted the following: “Although deepfakes are of great concern for many reasons, the current study shows that the technology does not show much advantage in distorting our memory of the past.”
“Essentially, this study shows that we don’t need technical innovation to distort memory, we can do it very easily and effectively using other non-technical means,” the researchers concluded. From this we can conclude that the importance of deepfakes in the role of manipulating public consciousness and people’s memories is often artificially exaggerated.