Five worthy reads is a regular column on five noteworthy items we’ve discovered while researching trending and timeless topics. This week we are exploring the world of deepfake technology and its impact on different industries and the society.

Imagine waking up one day to see your identity being projected online with zero knowledge or consent of what happened. Scary right? This is one of the major risks deepfake technology poses. Distinctive thumbnails make us pause, regardless of how questionable the caption might seem. Celebrity rumor and meme videos along with troll videos are the most common spaces the average user encounters deepfakes. They are a form of synthetic media that leverages deep learning and artificial intelligence to create hyper-realistic forged content.

 The scope of deepfakes is far beyond the regular random morphed videos or audios we encounter on a daily basis.They are now used to create fake digital personas, influence political campaigns, impersonate employee identities and much more. This AI-based technology has grown so much that little time and skill is required to create realistic content.

The FBI has also warned that fake digital identities are being created using deepfakes to apply for remote jobs. Fake celebrity endorsements are being circulated to promote harmful products. And a fake, controversial video could flip the poll results of a political campaign overnight or instill fear or hate among the public. The danger of deepfakes is that most people do not verify the genuineness of the myriad of social feed they consume. Once it’s out there, the damage is done.

 However, like any other technology, this also has a lot of potential, especially in the entertainment industry. Deepfake technology can be used to complete movies upon the untimely death of an actor, without compromising on the experience for the audience. The famous movie franchise “Fast & Furious” used it over the late Paul Walker’s brother’s face to bring him back before his fans once more.

 Deepfake videos and audios can help create multilingual promotional content without the need for celebrities to travel or learn new languages, saving time and money. It’s also being used to provide synthetic realistic voices for people who have lost their ability to speak.

 Here are five interesting reads covering the different perspectives on the impact of deepfake technology in multiple industries.

 1. Synthetic Media: How deepfakes could soon change our world

 In February 2021, a wave of Tom Cruise videos appeared on Tik Tok that quickly gained millions of views—only to later be revealed by its creator that they were all in fact morphed videos created with the help of an impersonator and newly developed computer software. This article looks at other similar instances, explores the threats posed by new-age deepfakes, and discusses how they’re changing the world.

 2. As tech evolves, deepfakes will become even harder to spot

 Today, deepfake images and videos are being used in high-profile illicit activities intended to manipulate and create stir among the public, interfere with democratic elections, damage someone’s reputation, and so on. It has also become increasingly difficult to detect deepfake media, and with AI technology evolving and getting democratized, the tools are easily available for everyone around the world. In an interview with NPR, UC Berkeley professor Hany Farid talks about the prevalence of deepfake media generated by AI and other technologies.

 3.  Artificial intelligence: deepfakes in the entertainment industry

 As deepfake technology continues to bombard the entertainment industry with ultra-realistic fake videos of celebrities, this article looks at the legal side of synthesized media and why individuals and businesses need to rethink their contractual agreements with celebrities. It also explores the potential of the technology in changing the future of augmented reality video games.

 4. Deepfakes – The Danger Of Artificial Intelligence That We Will Learn To Manage Better

 Though deepfake technology is gaining popularity, accessibility, and realism, tech giants like Microsoft, Google, and Meta are gearing up their game in detecting deepfake content and removing it from popular platforms. Learn new ideas on how technology can be more transparent, how content can be better regulated, and how netizens can be better educated against online scams.

 5. Are these guys for real? How to keep your business safe from deepfakes

On a normal working day, a Hong Kong-based bank’s manager received a call from the bank’s director with instructions to transfer $35 million only to later realize this was a scam. Even with extensive training, human error still tops the reasons for security breaches, and deepfake impersonations only make security that much more challenging. This article takes you through how cybercriminals use deepfake content to trick employees into transferring money and carrying out cyberattacks.

Deepfake technology has significantly grown in the last five years and it poses multiple threats and opportunities for businesses. Tech giants are in pursuit of tools to detect these threats, and federal legislation is introducing measures to limit the damage. Identifying the right security measures will help businesses get the most out of this technology. Organizations need to educate their staff about the risks of deepfakes. As individuals, it’s important to remain vigilant in researching and cross-verifying the sources of the information we consume.