The Benefits of Deep Fakes

When it is not being used to impersonate world leaders during wartime, such as these videos of Ukrainian President Volodoymyr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin, or to create videos and photos of celebrities in compromising situations, deep fake technology can be beneficial to society. 

The definition of beneficial, according to Merriam-Webster, is the act of “producing good results or helpful effects.” There are certainly ways that deep fake technology, which is used to create fake photos and videos, can be harmful, but there are several benefits to using it. The main benefit that can be produced by using deep fakes is seen in the field of education. 

A close-up of a statue of a person holding a book or tablet with the word education on it.
We Got Education, Too” by cogdogblog is marked with CC0 1.0.

In places such as schools and museums, deep fakes can be used to create more engaging and interactive activities for students to learn from. For example, according to this article from The Verge, a museum in Florida created a deep fake of Salvador Dalí that can talk and take selfies with visitors. 

This technology can also be used in more serious ways. The University of Southern California’s Shoah Foundation, for instance used artificial intelligence to create the Dimensions In Testimony project, which allows people to interact with Holocaust survivors. According to USC’s Shoah Foundation website, this project “enables people to ask questions that prompt real-time responses from pre-recorded video interviews with Holocaust survivors and other witnesses to genocide.” This is not necessarily a deep fake, but this technology could be used to create deep fakes of public and historical figures that people can interact with and learn from.

Examples similar to these two situations could help create a more interactive environment for students, but there are certainly ethical concerns that could arise. However, there are other ways that deep fake technology can be used to educate people, even people who are not students. 

By now, most people have seen at least one celebrity deep fake in their life, even if they did not know it was fake at the time. This can be scary, especially for the celebrities whose faces are being used to create harmful or inappropriate content, but it can also be helpful. This article from DesignTaxi, for example, explains how Bruce Willis licensed his “deepfake image rights” to a company that created Russian ads with him in them, despite the fact that he did not actually make the ads, and that he does not even speak Russian. 

Most people might be concerned by this. There are, however, ways that this could be used to educate people. In 2019, for example, David Beckham took part in a campaign that was designed to end malaria. In the ad, Beckham speaks nine different languages, even though he does not know all of these languages. This video was created using deep fake technology, according to Mashable, and it shows how beneficial deep fakes can be when trying to spread the word about important causes. The company that created it, Synthesia, even shared a video demonstrating how they created the deep fake video

This is a great example of how deep fakes can be beneficial. In the ad, Beckham is able to spread the word about ending malaria to people all around the world, especially to countries where people might not speak English.

If we use the power of deep fake technology for good, we can change the world for the better.

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