A deepfake challenge from Facebook

We have all seen deepfakes online and yeah, they are plenty of fun. However, they are also potentially very dangerous and even frightening. We are just at the start of the technology and already deepfakes do a good job of replicating famous people and their voices. The European Commission is planning regulations to force tech companies into combatting deepfakes.

Specifically, Europe’s chief anti-competition regulator says it will issue big fines to tech companies that do not thwart deepfakes on their platforms. Reuters reports the Commission will issue new rules this week that tech firms must follow as part of a wider pushback against fake news.

In a new document, the European Commission says the rules are linked to the existing Digital Services Act, which was agreed upon by EU country members at the start of the year. DSA essentially says that companies that do not comply with regulations will be fined up to 6 per cent of their overall global turnover.

For Big Tech giants like Microsoft and Google that rake in billions each year, the fines could be massive.

What Are Deepfakes?

Deepfakes are photos, videos, or audio that are synthetic media. They manipulate the original content with artificial intelligence (AI) to make it seem the content is something else. For example, a person talking in their bedroom could use deepfake to make themselves look like Tom Cruise, complete with movements and voice.

While the technology is still new, it is improving constantly. Some of the best deepfakes will fool people who don’t pay enough attention. In a few years, it’s fair to presume deepfake tech could become seamless.

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