How could deepfakes impact the 2020 U.S. elections?

This post is by Nicholas Diakopoulos and Deborah Johnson from Nieman Lab

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New technologies used to produce deepfakes are rapidly advancing and becoming more accessible, allowing users to make compelling video and audio clips of individuals doing and saying things they never did or said. Users can, for instance, synthesize an individual’s voice, swap one person’s face onto another person’s body in a video, or alter a video interviewee’s words merely by re-writing a transcript. Recorded audio-visual media is becoming more and more malleable, facilitating an ease of editing almost analogous to text. The technology offers a host of potential benefits in entertainment and education, from multi-lingual advertising campaigns to museums bringing dead artists back to life. But it can also challenge aural and visual authenticity and enable the production of disinformation by bad actors. Deepfakes have the potential to wreak havoc in contexts such as news, where audio and video are treated as a form of evidence that something
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