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Deepfakes are becoming more and more realistic. With the fear of ‘fake news’ growing, we need a means of verifying. Blockchain technology provides us with the single best solution.
Deepfakes entered the public discourse the past few weeks as edited videos of Nancy Pelosi were disseminated online. However, the video was only the tip of the iceberg of what we can expect in the coming years. The reality is, we are still in the early years of this nascent technology which will surely disrupt what we consider “true” online.
Deepfakes are becoming worryingly easy to make for little cost. Their purpose is to completely upend our idea of truth online, rendering us completely unable to differentiate fact from fiction.
Deepfakes can’t be fought through removal and policing. Instead, we need a clear system to be able to locate the origin of every video and image posted online. This will prevent tampering and allow us to verify rather than trust what we see online.
This is the promise of blockchain technology: a public distributed ledger where every bit of information processed on it can be verified. It’s a trustless system of consensus, one that’s desperately needed if we’re serious about fighting deepfakes.
Blockchain-based systems allow us to effectively cryptographically ‘watermark’ (for lack of a better word) content online. Each video, audio recording, and image would be linked to a unique hash and signature. It would be stored in a decentralized database, for easy verification.
As it stands now, it’s difficult to properly implement decentralized systems to verify and counter deepfakes. Frankly, we are currently in an arms race over which technology will develop to maturation first: blockchain or deepfakes.
The amount of damage deepfakes can do is beyond comprehension, but we still have a few years before they become truly harmful. Fighting them will require both a mature blockchain-based network and social media platforms who are willing to come onboard to fight this. As of now, the urgency is not there.
However, with deepfakes becoming more malicious, the calls to verify videos and images online will only become louder. The only real, conceivable solution is a decentralized means of verifying content. Blockchain provides us with the solution, but it remains to be seen if it will mature in time to counter the onslaught of deepfakes expected in the coming years.
Do you believe blockchain technology can help fight deepfakes? Let us know your thoughts below.
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