We’ll NEVER know…
Nick Bilton, in this Vanity Fair article, says that digital media companies have created products that change reality. In a way that leaves little, or no opportunity for us to know which came first, the truth, or something else.
In a computer program called, “VoCo,” by Adobe, a sentence in an audio file can be changed by simply typing a word into a textbox. You can even delete one word and replace it with an entirely new word. You don’t even need to have that new word in that original audio file.
Adobe employee, Zeyu Jin, says in forty minutes of talking the average person speaks enough different sounds for “VoCo” to work. For public figures getting that forty minutes will be easy. Jin literally uses the word magic to describe “VoCo”.
At this time, there is nothing you can do to establish source reality. Jin mentions that someday, “a kind of watermark” could be installed on an original file.
Currently, that watermark technology does not exist.
Facial Re-enactment is being touted as another fun thing. From that same Vanity Fair article, “The technology out of Stanford can manipulate a real-time news clip and doesn’t need an array of high-end computers like those used by Pixar; it simply needs a news clip from YouTube and a standard Webcam on your laptop.”
Newly altered video clips look like the real thing.
Jad Abumrad, host of Radio Lab, had this to say, “What is TRUE has become an open discussion”.
The descriptions above are just the most basic, broad, brushstrokes of the power of these new programs. I urge you to take a minute and click through for more info.
There are many quotes about fooling people. One I hear often is Abe Lincoln’s, who famously said, “You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”
Seems to me, fooling some of the people, some of the time might be enough.