• Morgan Fagg

What is the future of news and politics with both Fake News and Deep Fakes?

If you are new to Deep Fakes, don’t worry so am I but basically we have arrived at a point in time where you could re-create your own fake news with Donald Trump saying virtually anything.

Trump is a game changer in the political landscape but along with the Republican president and Brexit which have both been linked back to Cambridge Analytical and the idea that BREXIT was a dry run for the Presidential Elections in 2016. Things have changed, politics and news have changed and people have been influenced by fraudulent stories on Facebook and Twitter.

People believe what they want to believe which includes crazy stories like Pizzagate where Hillary Clinton was accused by Republicans of runnng a Pedophile ring from a pizzeria.

Linked back to General Michael Flynn’s son, the same Michael Flynn who called to “Lock her up” has himself been locked up but yet these stories have not been shut down.

How will we view the world when computer programmers can get a lifelike version of Obama to say something strange and how will we adapt in a world where everything Trump says is strange? In the immortal words of George W Bush at Trump’s Inauguration, “That’s some weird shit.”

When fact & fiction collide

The tv series The West Wing used a fictional Latino candidate who was a community worker in their final series but the unknown candidate was based on the unknown Senator Obama, an African American community worker in Illinois.

The Simpsons predicted the arrival of Donald Trump onto the political stage with incredible accuracy and many storylines from television seem to have come true. I was always a big fan of Wag the Dog a 1997 film which predates the Monica Lewinsky affair and the farcical invasion of Iraq. Similarly, the X Files had a spin-off series where one episode allegedly discusses the government flying planes into the Twin Towers.

What I am saying is, in a world of news and press statements, politicians will mislead people but in a world where politicians aren’t politicians but businessmen denying their politics from the presidential podium and calling Fake News to all forms of criticism. How will we tell the bullshit from the really weird shit?

If Trump announced that nuclear missiles were targeting North Korea and it was shown on Korean television what happens when a million people panic and cross the DMZ? What happens when Kim sees a digitally altered version of Trump declaring war?

Is there a toll-free hotline for him to call? How do we confirm what we have actually seen is real when we have seen something unreal? These issues only become issues of course as we come to expect politicians to make bizarre statements and to make them online or via Twitter.

As crazy as it sounds, I remember driving on the M4 motorway as a green VW polo approached me. My brain understood the make of car and the direction it was travelling but my brain could not perceive the danger as I had to second guess if I was actually seeing a green VW Polo approaching in the wrong direction. As we rushed towards each other, my brain identified the make a model and colour but not how a car could be travelling in the wrong direction and in a classic game of chicken, I swerved from the unbelievable situation that someone had driven down a motorway in the wrong direction and my slow reactions could have been fatal.

How do we move forward when fake news is all around us? How do we know what to believe in the technological Superhighway and how do we make sure we aren’t caught in the net and a web of lies?

It is a scary world out there and it is only going to get scarier. Deep Fakes and Fake News have the potential to unleash something unreal. How do we dodge the ICBM VW Polo launched in a world constantly online when Milnet was designed as a chaotic communication channel capable of surviving a nuclear attack?

Fake Melania might start trending on Twitter again but how real is she? When I first saw the Fake Melania incident, I thought that she did look very different probably because her smile looked different which I presume could be caused by Botox or lack off but the problem does arise, how believable is it that @realDonaldJTrump would change his wife? Sorry his third wife.

How can we move forward without any integrity?

I remember a journalism lecturer of mine told our class about the time she was interviewing former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Aherne, more affectionately known as the Teflon Taoiseach in Ireland. My lecturer took out her dictaphone and placed it on the table and he took out his recorder and placed it on the table so that he had a record of what was actually recorded.

Will we have to record things in duplicate in order to prove that a recording was manipulated?

The incident where CNN's Jim Acosta refused to surrender a microphone at the White House shows the danger of edited tapes and manipulation as Trump's Press Secretary posted a doctored version of the incident and refused to take it down despite everyone knowing that the video was a doctored.

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