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Fake News / AI Deepfakes

This guide describes what 'fake news' is and AI deepfakes are, and how to spot them.

What is a deepfake?

Deepfakes are fake news on steroids. By using Artificial Intelligence (AI), videos can be created by swapping out one person's face and/or voice, for another person's. While the ability to alter videos isn't new, AI has automated the process, and as the technology improves, deepfakes are getting more realistic, and are easier and cheaper to make. 

Some applications of the technology include:

  • Entertaining videos of actors such as Steve Buscemi, Jim Carrey, Tom Cruise, and Nicolas Cage (LOTS of Nicolas Cage), on other actor's bodies
  • The film industry's ability to finish a movie after an actor's death. For example, Paul Walker in Fast and Furious
  • More realistic characters in video games
  • Alexa offering the option for celebrity voices, like Samuel L. Jackson
  • The introduction of a virtual news anchor, who can work (24) hours a day, in China 
  • Improved assisted technologies, so the computer reader voices are more natural

However, other applications have the potential to cause harm such as:

  • When used in revenge porn
  • When used to ruin a person's reputation
  • If used by a person, radical group, or foreign country to ruin the reputation of a politician
  • If used to cause division or cite violence
  • When a deepfake audio is used to scam a CEO out of millions of dollars

As Bobby Chesney, a professor at The University of Texas School of Law states, he is especially worried about "the larger societal harm that occurs if people begin to believe they just can't trust that any video or audio content is authentic."

What Is a Deepfake? Video Examples With Nicolas Cage, Jennifer Lawrence, Obama Show Troubling Trend: Recent improvements in artificial intelligence software have made it surprisingly easy to graft the heads of stars, and ordinary women, to the bodies of X-rated actresses to create realistic videos.

Deepfakes Explained: The Best of 2019, How They're Made & How to Spot Them: Deepfakes aren’t just face-swapping. You can also manipulate someone’s mouth to make it seem like they’re saying something they never did. This video shows the darker side to Deepfakes, and how they can also be used to harass people and spread misinformation by making it seem like people have done or said something they never did or never would.

It’s Getting Harder to Spot a Deep Fake Video: Fake videos and audio keep getting better, faster and easier to make, increasing the mind-blowing technology's potential for harm if put in the wrong hands. Bloomberg QuickTake explains how good deep fakes have gotten in the last few months, and what's being done to counter them.

Can Facebook And Google Detect And Stop Deepfakes?

Deepfakes have started to appear everywhere. From viral celebrity face-swaps to impersonations of political leaders - it can be hard to spot the difference between real and fake. Digital impressions are starting to have real financial repercussions. In the U.S., an audio deepfake of a CEO reportedly scammed one company out of $10 million. And with the 2020 election not far off, there is huge potential for weaponizing deepfakes on social media. Now, tech giants like Google, Twitter, Facebook and Microsoft are fighting back. With Facebook spending more than $10 million to fight deepfakes, what’s at stake for businesses, and what’s being done to detect and regulate them?


Computer scientist Supasorn Suwajanakorn shows how, as a grad student, he used AI and 3D modeling to create photorealistic fake videos of people synced to audio. Learn more about both the ethical implications and the creative possibilities of this tech -- and the steps being taken to fight against its misuse.

Examples of deep fakes

This is an example of a deep fake created by comedian/director, Jordan Peele...warning us of the potential dangers of deepfakes.

When Steve Buscemi learned about this deepfake on the Stephen Colbert show, he said "I've never looked better!"

Compilation of Top 10 Deepfakes


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