- A recent study published in PLOS One demonstrates that deepfake technology can successfully implant false memories by showing viewers deepfaked clips of non-existent movie remakes.
- On average, 49% of the study participants were tricked by the deepfake videos. However, the study also found that deepfakes weren’t more effective than simple text descriptions at distorting memory.
- The lead researcher emphasized the importance of evidence-based approaches to understanding the harms of deepfakes and urged for increasing technological literacy to help individuals distinguish between deepfaked and real media.
Deepfake technology is proving to be a powerful tool for implanting false memories, according to a recent study conducted by researchers and published in the journal PLOS One.
The researchers demonstrated this by showing participants deepfaked clips of non-existent movie remakes, which successfully tricked a significant portion of the viewers into believing they were genuine.
In the study, deepfaked footage was created for supposed remakes of popular movies, such as Will Smith taking on the lead role in a rebooted “The Matrix”.
Many of the 436 study participants were convinced by the deepfake videos, with some even ranking these fictitious remakes as superior to the original films.
An average of 49% of participants were deceived by the deepfake videos, and 41% of this group believed the “Captain Marvel” remake, featuring Charlize Theron, was better than the original.
However, the study also highlighted an interesting observation: deepfakes weren’t more effective than simple text descriptions at implanting false memories.
This finding led the researchers to caution against fears that deepfakes pose a unique and potent threat to memory distortion.
Lead study author Gillian Murphy, a misinformation researcher at University College Cork in Ireland, stated, “Yes, there are very real harms posed by deepfakes, but we should always gather evidence for those harms in the first instance, before rushing to solve problems we’ve just assumed might exist.”
Nevertheless, the study underscored the need to stay vigilant as generative AI continues to improve and become more convincing.
One suggested defense against deepfakes is increasing technological literacy, so people can better distinguish between deepfaked and real media.