In recent events, popular actress Rashmika Mandanna found herself at the center of a controversy linked to a deepfake video. The viral video on social media depicted a woman entering an elevator, but her face was digitally altered to resemble Mandanna. This incident has sparked widespread concern, prompting calls for legal action. Bollywood icon and co-star of the movie ‘Goodbye,’ Amitabh Bachchan, expressed his concerns about the trend of deepfakes and stressed the need for legal action.

What is a deepfake video?

The term “deepfake” combines “deep learning” with “fake.” It refers to a video that has been altered using an algorithm to change a person in the original video, especially with a public figure, creating a seemingly authentic video. Deepfakes use artificial intelligence, known as deep learning, to create fabricated scenarios or events that never actually occurred. The prevalence of deepfake videos increased after the advent of several AI tools, some of which are free and exacerbate the issue of fake photos, videos, or audios.

How can you identify a deepfake video?

While deepfake videos can be highly convincing, there are several signs that may help in their identification:

Detecting manipulated or fake content in videos requires a keen eye and attention to various telltale signs. One crucial aspect involves scrutinizing the subject’s eyes for any unnatural movements, like the absence of blinking or erratic shifts, indicative of potential manipulation. Another significant point is observing color and lighting disparities between the subject’s face and the background; any mismatches can signal potential tampering. Assessing audio quality vis-à-vis lip movements is a critical step, as discrepancies may suggest fabricated content.

Moreover, identifying visual inconsistencies, ranging from odd body shapes or movements to artificial facial expressions or unusual positioning of facial features, is pivotal in detecting potential manipulation. Awkward posture or unnatural physique are further red flags to watch for in videos.

Employing reverse image search tools to verify the authenticity of the video subject aids in determining if they are genuine or digitally forged. It’s also crucial to delve into video metadata, checking for potential alterations or edits that could indicate manipulation.

Additionally, leveraging deepfake detection tools, like online platforms or browser extensions specifically designed to flag suspicious videos, can provide an added layer of verification, helping to distinguish authentic content from manipulated ones. By utilizing these methods collectively, one can better identify and assess the legitimacy of videos in an age where digital manipulation has become increasingly sophisticated and prevalent.

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Technologies to tackle deepfake issues:

AI-based checks: Several tools use AI to identify alterations in videos. For instance, Microsoft developed a tool that analyzes photos and videos, providing a confidence score on whether the content is artificially created or not.

Browser plugins: The AI Foundation created a browser plugin called Reality Defender to help identify deepfake content online. Another plugin, SurfSafe, conducts similar checks.

Startups: Several startups are working on novel solutions to combat fake content. For example, OARO Digital provides tools for identification, validation, and verification of media. Sentinel is dealing with information warfare.

Immutable records: OARO Media creates an unchangeable data trail allowing businesses, regulatory bodies, and individuals to authenticate any photo or video.

Rashmika Mandanna’s deepfake controversy has emphasized the immediate need for legal and regulatory measures to tackle the spread of such content. While several technologies are being rapidly developed, they are either not widely or easily accessible or may not be 100% accurate. The responsibility to identify and share such videos still lies with the user.

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