The rise of synthetic media and deepfakes is forcing us towards an important and unsettling realization: our historical belief that video and audio are reliable records of reality is no longer tenable. I choose the word “historical” as this belief is a coincidence of how technology has evolved. Still today, we trust a phone call from a friend or a video clip featuring a known politician, simply based on the recognition of their voices and faces.
Previously, no commonly available technology could have synthetically created this media with comparable realism, so we treated it as authentic by definition. With the development of synthetic media and deepfakes, this is no longer the case. Every digital communication channel our society is built upon, whether that be audio, video, or even text, is at risk of being subverted.