Losing sight of reality in a sea of digital media

While it’s long been said that you can’t believe everything you hear or read, that’s now more true than ever. What can you believe? Certainly not your own eyes — “deepfake” videos manipulate content so that recognizable people appear to be saying things they have never, in fact, uttered. That sort of thing may be done for innocuous fun, or with the malicious intent of discrediting the actual person. And deepfake videos are just one way in which reality is being undermined in our online activities, as whole campaigns of “disinformation” are being carried out to achieve the ends of the campaigns’ instigators. Those ends are not necessarily simple or small scale: recent elections around the globe have seen citizens targeted with disinformation with the expectation of impacting the election outcome. That sort of interference in nations’ actions is often considered an act of war.

Our guests for this arc help to explore the machinations of deepfakes and disinformation campaigns that have been observed. We’ll talk about how deepfakes are built and trained to trick us, how disinformation campaigns are constructed and observed, and what we might do to give ourselves a fighting chance to level the playing field in this easily altered reality

  • Sara-Jayne (SJ) Terp: The disinformation playbook (January 27, 2021)
  • Nicolas Papernot: Can advances in technology help liberate us from the grip of disinformation? (February 3, 2021)
  • Andrew Grotto: (How) Can we dig ourselves out of a deepfake hole? (February 10, 2021)