It’s November 2020, only days before the presidential election. Early voting is underway in several states as a video suddenly spreads across social media. One of the candidates has disclosed a dire cancer diagnosis, and is making an urgent plea: “I’m too sick to lead. Please, don’t vote for me.” The video is quickly revealed to be a computer-generated hoax, but the damage is done ― especially as trolls eagerly push the line that the video is actually real, and the candidate has just changed her mind.
Such a scenario, while seemingly absurd, would actually be possible to achieve using a “deepfake,” a doctored video in which a person can be made to appear as if they’re doing and saying anything. Experts