As deepfakes become more widespread online, the technology will be developed and used to commit "fraud and political propaganda" in 2021, author Nina Schick warns in an article penned for Wired.
While the crossover of deepfake tech and pornography has already become a cause for concern in recent years, Schick points to how, in early 2020, the Belgian Branch of Extinction Rebellion used AI to manipulate a speech by then-Prime Minister of Belgium Sophie Wilmes.
"The result: Wilmès is generated in a video making a fake speech in which she claims that Covid-19 is directly linked to the 'exploitation and destruction by humans of our natural environment'," the author notes. "Anyone’s identity can be misappropriated in this way. All that’s needed are images, video, or audio of the intended subject to 'train' an AI to produce a convincing deepfake."
Schick also outlined how deepfakes could potentially be used by scammers, for example, by using a "completely believable" video message of a someone's relative to trick them into sending money.
"You know scammers are going to use it," she said, "and as it becomes more accessible it won’t be CEOs of big energy companies being defrauded out of millions of euros, it’ll be just ordinary people like you and me."
In 2021, Schick says people "must begin to fight back against deepfakes" both by employing human "fact-checkers" and by designing "technological solutions" necessary to tackle the problem.