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Combating Deepfakes While AI has made significant contributions to various industries, it also has a dark side which has surfaced in the form of deepfakes. According to experts, tackling the menace requires an approach and blockchain technology offers a formidable solution.

By Priya Kapoor

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Deepfake is a global menace that has targeted and haunted key personalities

The menace of deep fake videos is showing no signs of abating. The deepfake video of actor Priyanka Chopra is popping all over. Prior to that there were actors like Rashmika Mandanna, Katrina Kaif, Kajol Devgn and Alia Bhatt who fell victim to it. Prominent industrialist Ratan Tata was another target sometime back with his deepfake videos circulating and showing him luring unsuspecting individuals into an online betting scam. In the video, he was seen endorsing an online betting coach and asking people to join a Telegram channel run by a man named Amir Khan.

But deepfake is not new and isn't restricted just to India. It is a global menace that has targeted and haunted key personalities like the former US president Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg and Fox News personality Jesse Watters, CBC host Ian Hanomansing, and BBC stars Matthew Amroliwala and Sally Bundock. The deep fake videos of Barack Obama showed him calling Donald Trump a "complete dipshit", while Mark Zuckerberg bragged about having "total control of billions of people's stolen data".

The dark side of AI?

While AI has made significant contributions to various industries, it also has a dark side which is surfacing in the form of deep fakes. Simply put, a deepfake is a piece of technology that leverages AI to alter a person's appearance, voice, or actions in a way that can be realistic and challenging to discern from authentic, unaltered content. They are not new but have become more sophisticated due to technological advancements. These videos are created through encoder and decoder networks, often within Generative Adversarial Networks. and can be used to spread disinformation, defame individuals, and influence public opinion.

"Deepfakes bring attention to an aspect of AI. While this technology is fascinating and can be used for entertainment purposes, it has a darker side because it can be manipulated to create harmful content, potentially leading to fraud and disharmony. The problem lies with intent rather than with AI itself. Deepfakes remind us that AI capabilities continue to advance, and we need to exercise caution & responsi- bility in its applications," says Sanjay Kaushik, Managing Director, Netrika consulting, a risk and securities firm.

Concurs Dr. Shreeram Iyer, Group Chairman and CEO, Prisma AI. "Deepfakes have exposed AI's negative aspects, including worries about false information, identity theft, invasions of privacy, and the ability to sway public opinion. People may find it difficult to distinguish between actual and manipulated content due to the realistic appearance of deep fakes, which could erode their trust in visual media."

Not limited to videos

Apart from videos, deep fakes can also create convincing photos from scratch. Even audio can be deepfaked. Deepfakes can also be used to create fake identification documents, making it easier for cybercriminals to impersonate individuals or gain access to secure systems.

Easy to create

There are plenty of tools available to help people make deepfakes. The most-sought after websites and apps include DeepSwap, Reface, Avatrify, DeepBrain, Anyone Swap, MyHeritage, Heyphoto.

Read also: Indians Are Worried About The Threat Of Deepfake Videos. This Is What They Want Should Be Done


Training employees

Cybersecurity experts think it is becoming increasingly important to train employees to recognize and respond to deepfakes, similar to how they are trained to identify phishing attacks.

"As deepfake technology advances, it threatens engineering and spreads misinformation. By educating employees about deepfakes and the associated risks, companies can empower their workforce to be more cautious and discerning. This training can involve sessions, practical examples and tools that assist employees in detecting signs of manipulated content" adds Kaushik.

Fortunately, several tools that employ advanced techniques to detect manipulated media content are available. For example, some tools use artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to analyse facial features, lighting, shadows, and unnatural movements," says Iyer.

Making use of Blockchain

According to experts, blockchain can be used to restore public confidence back into the system. In fact, some detection tools like Microsoft Video Authenticator Tool uses blockchain. "Blockchain technology coupled with decentralized identity systems offers a formidable solution against deepfake videos of celebrities and politicians. This combination establishes a verifiable digital footprint for each piece of content, ensuring its authenticity and origin. As a result, it becomes increasingly difficult for deepfakes to undermine digital trust. This approach not only protects public figures from impersonation but also fortifies the integrity of online media in an era where digital deception is a growing concern," says Priya Guliani, CEO, EarthID.

Sriram PH, CEO & Cofounder, DaveAI agrees with Guliani, "Blockchain while in principle can solve some of these problems, the problems as well as the solutions are more human oriented. But as a tool, Blockchain can be a strong component in a possible solution." Establishing the law There are currently no laws to regulate the creation or distribution of deep fakes. Recently, Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced that the government will come up with new regulations to tackle deep fakes.

"Deepfake has emerged as a serious threat to democracy and social institutions across the world. Propagation of deepfake content via so- cial media platforms has aggravated this challenge. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has, from time to time, advised social media intermediaries to exercise due diligence and take expeditious action against deepfake," read the statement by MeiitY on November 23.

A section also think addressing the issue of deep fake videos requires an approach. "It is crucial to employ detection methods, establish laws to prevent use and create public awareness campaigns. Governments should enact and enforce laws, while education and media literacy programs empower individuals to discern manipulated content. Collaboration among platforms can facilitate content regulation. Integrating authentication technologies and fostering ethical AI development further fortifies defences," says Kaushik.

"Just like any other new technology, the enterprises, public and the government should come together and create both preventive and punitive norms and regulations," adds Sriram. Iyer thinks that international cooperation is also crucial in setting standards and regulations to curb the spread of deepfakes across borders.

Priya Kapoor

Former Feature Editor

Priya holds more than a decade of experience in journalism. She has worked on various beats and was chosen as a Road Safety Fellow in 2018, wherein she produced many in-depth & insightful features on road crashes in India. She writes on startups, personal finance and Web3. Outside of work, she likes gardening, driving and reading. 




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