As we are now deep into 2018, the war on free speech hasn’t gone away, but rather changed pace. In a recent article from CBS, the relatively new phenomenon of digitally altered video is to blame for a potential “global nuclear war.”
Riding off the back of the recent phenomenon of “Deep Fakes,” where celebrities heads were being pasted onto lewd and suggestive bodies to create videos which never really happened, we’re now seeing a wave of doctored political content aimed to poke fun at politicians like Trump and Putin. CBS has confirmed that socials media giants Facebook and Reddit have begun “looking for ways to regulate” altered content.
For more than a year, the mainstream media has been working in tandem with large tech corporations in an attempt to suppress online free speech. Shadow-banning and claims of “Fake News,” alongside vague and often unsubstantiated assertions of harassment and hate speech have all been used as tactics to silence dissenting voices.
This is now going to be the new reality, surely by 2020, but potentially even as early as this year. – Virginia Senator Mark Warner
Though the videos are actually pretty funny, and aimed solely at poking fun at politicians, some are concerned about possible false flags or fake political scandals.
Hany Farid, a Professor at Dartmouth College who specializes in analyzing and authenticating digital content, believes that “we are absolutely not ready for” altered content and one video aimed at a causing conflict could result in nuclear war.
Right out of the gate, that’s terrifying…I think the nightmare situation is a fake video of a politician saying, ‘I have launched nuclear weapons against a country.’ The other country reacts within minutes, seconds, and we have a global nuclear war. – Hany Farid
Although it is a frightening concept, you have to ask yourself, couldn’t governments which have technological capabilities far surpassing that of the general population already have done this, and if they could, why haven’t they?
Another alarming aspect of this technology is that it could be used to create national scandals which never actually happened. However, it may be even more frightening when you consider that this could be used as an excuse to dissolve blame for real corruption and scandals as well.
When in comes down to it, Pandora’s box has already been opened. This technology is here to stay and could absolutely be used for malicious purposes as well as simply entertaining ones.
It would be reasonable to assume that there will be a growing market for experts on digital authentication in the future, but I highly doubt that it will cause nuclear war, considering most nuclear-capable governments are probably already aware of this and have people employed to determine whether or not a video is legitimate.
Instead, I could see in the near future a hypothetical situation where a politician is caught on camera engaging in malicious activity, but denies it, and Facebook then removes the video from the platform under the context of “altered video,” rather than allowing the users to qualify the content themselves.
This mentality of fake news and censorship plagues establishment pseudo-intellectualism, which is clearly visible in one of the quotes from Farid. The “information war” he talks about would be more accurately described as a “censorship war” on dissenting views and controversial information, not necessarily legitimate fake content like we see with these deep fakes.
We have a ‘fake news’ phenomenon that is not going away, and so, add to that fake images, fake audio, fake video, and you have an explosion of what I would call an information war. – Hany Farid
According to CBS, Senator Mark Warner has already begun asking tech companies to help “rein in false news,” which has been used as a way to censor based on a vague idea of what “fake news” is and has no clear limit. As there really is no real definitive dictionary definition for fake news and qualifying content often depends on determining your own personal trust with any given news source, the true definition depends on your perspective, which makes it by default, bias.
Former CBS Investigative Journalist Sharyl Attkisson has done a lot of research into the topic of fake news and poses the question, is fake news real?