On Technology & Ethics
With Framestore’s Mike McGee
Of all the new technologies on the horizon, Deepfake (the technique that uses AI to replace one person’s face with someone else’s) is one of the most sophisticated and complex creative applications of machine learning. LIONS Live sparked debate on how we can deploy this technology to augment the creative idea. Here, Framestore’s Co-founder responds to your unanswered questions on Deepfakes and tech for good.
How should brands who are worried about putting out fake news navigate deep fakes? How do they do it safely? Advertisers and brands rely on building trust with their consumers and fans. Any mistakes and they are likely to be punished. In our clips, Boris and Donald were designed to be provocative, to start a conversation about their fidelity and likeness. But we didn’t use them to make any political statements, the content was designed to be amusing rather than a hoax.
Can you see a world in which this technology can be used for good? If so, how?
We would argue that taking political satire like Spitting Image and Saturday Night Live to the next level works and that has value. It will be interesting how to see how it will be used more widely. Are there any ethical considerations to take into account as Deepfake continues to grow in the advertising world?
Using the latest technology to make the impossible possible has been our job as VFX artists for decades. We have created face replacements for A-list actors to perform dangerous stunts, we’ve brought dead celebrities back to life to sell chocolate bars and we’ve avoided reshoots by reanimating an actor's performance and lines. However, all of these were created with the consent of the talent or the estate controlling the artists image rights. Where things get tricky is when the content is created without consent and the material is damaging or disparaging to the owner’s reputation. We have the capability to make anyone say and do anything given the time and budget and, while we are excited about the creative possibilities, there is also concern over the ethical implications. Fake endorsements can be as harmful as fake insults. Once someone has seen and believed a piece of fake content, even if it can eventually be proven to be fake the damage is already done.