The Epistemic Threat of Deepfakes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Deepfakes are realistic videos created using new machine learning techniques rather than traditional photographic means. They tend to depict people saying and doing things that they did not actually say or do. In the news media and the blogosphere, the worry has been raised that, as a result of deepfakes, we are heading toward an “infopocalypse” where we cannot tell what is real from what is not. Several philosophers (e.g., Deborah Johnson, Luciano Floridi, Regina Rini) have now issued similar warnings. In this paper, I offer an analysis of why deepfakes are such a serious threat to knowledge. Utilizing the account of information carrying recently developed by Brian Skyrms (2010), I argue that deepfakes reduce the amount of information that videos carry to viewers. I conclude by drawing some implications of this analysis for addressing the epistemic threat of deepfakes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhilosophy and Technology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Deception
  • Deepfakes
  • Epistemic value
  • Fake news
  • Information theory
  • Videos

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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