I deepfake degli attori statunitensi che si scagliano contro l’Ucraina thumbnail

Deepfakes of US actors lashing out at Ukraine

We have now understood that the latest advances in generative artificial intelligence can bring enormous benefits, speeding up a series of operations (although human supervision is and will always be necessary).

It is equally undeniable that the production of texts and images through AI can also serve ambiguous or blatantly dishonest purposes. Let's think for example about deepfake.

He deepfake

Deepfake, i.e. the production of images and videos using AI to credibly mimic the bodily movements (and, if desired, the voices) of more or less well-known people, is a neutral practice in itself.

In an (almost pioneering) article from 2021, for example, we wrote that deepfake could make dubbing more realistic. Or have actors act without them being present on set. In this sense, the case of Bruce Willis is famous. That, now unable to act due to aphasia, he would have sold the image rights to an agency that produces content with AI. Except that the actor himself would later deny everything.

There are also, as we were saying, much less virtuous uses of deepfake. Among the countless examples, let's mention one from March 2023, when the faces of actresses Scarlett Johansson and Emma Watson were juxtaposed with porn videos via the FaceMeta app. To the point that we asked ourselves in an article if a new form of gender violence had not been born.

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Deepfakes by US actors against Ukraine

In other cases, deepfakes can exploit unsuspecting public figures to convey political messages.

For example, several Hollywood stars have recently been making at least hostile statements towards Ukraine and Zelensky. The tones are more than explicit. If for Bradley Cooper the Ukrainians are “pigs who emerged from the slums of Europe”, Brad Pitt defines Volodymyr Zelensky as an “ally of the Nazis”.

There is nothing to fear: it is precisely a massive use of deepfake which, through well-known Hollywood actors, aims to discredit Ukraine and its president.

According to NewsGuard's analysis, reported by our colleagues at Repubblica, some of this content would have been widely disseminated by Doppelganger, a collective of pro-Russian disinformers active since 2022.

If the effect of each video taken individually is grotesque, and the deepfake is often approximate, the widespread disclosure can certainly generate an emotional impact, especially in users less accustomed to verifying the veracity of the news.

The deepfake, Ukraine and own goals

Then there is a third use of deepfake, a technology that is still young, and which therefore can – at least for now – be used in an amateur way. Let's not forget that US lawyer, who in a case relied on ChatGPT, which invented a series of criminal records from scratch.

Returning to Ukraine, the deepfake by Hollywood actors to ridicule it is certainly execrable. But, here it is the Kiev government itself has chosen Victoria Shi as its new spokeswoman. Its main task is to communicate information about the activities of Ukrainian consulates abroad. And her features closely resemble (too?) closely those of the web celebrity Rosalia Nombre.

Here is the mystery revealed: Rosalia Nombre lent her image to the AI, which she created a virtual character traced on her.

Although the Ukrainian government motivated the curious choice by saving time, it was not spared criticism on social media, for at least two reasons. Meanwhile, we wondered what costs the operation had. And whether the use of technology to replace a living and well spokesperson is really indispensable.

Deepfake and elections

Meanwhile, important elections are approaching (the European ones in June, the US presidential ones in November). And concerns about the inappropriate and illicit use of deepfakes are growing.

The overall conclusion is that regulation of a technology is urgently needed which, we repeat, if contained in legal contexts (these are precisely the boundaries that must be drawn) can bring numerous advantages.

The United States tried last January with the NO AI Fraud Act, a bill to protect individual property rights over images and voices.

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Walker Ronnie is a tech writer who keeps you informed on the latest developments in the world of technology. With a keen interest in all things tech-related, Walker shares insights and updates on new gadgets, innovative advancements, and digital trends. Stay connected with Walker to stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of technology.