Deepfake Videos of Eerie Tom Cruise Revive Debate

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“This will become an issue that can affect everyone, especially those who don’t have resources to protect themselves,” Ms. Schick said.

The technology could also have a destabilizing effect on global affairs, as politicians claim that videos, including genuine ones, are fake in order to gain an advantage that the law professors Robert Chesney and Danielle Citron have called the “liar’s dividend.”

In Gabon, opposition leaders argued that a video of President Ali Bongo Ondimba giving a New Year’s address in 2019 was faked in an attempt to cover up health problems. Last year, a Republican candidate for a House seat in the St. Louis area claimed that the video of George Floyd’s death in police custody had been digitally staged.

As the technology advances, it will be used more broadly, according to Mr. Gregory, the artificial intelligence expert, but its effects are already pronounced.

“People are always trying to think about the perfect deepfake when that isn’t necessary for the harmful or beneficial uses,” he said.

In introducing the Deep Nostalgia tool, MyHeritage addressed the issue of consent, asking users to “please use this feature on your own historical photos and not on photos featuring living people without their permission.” Mr. Ume, who created the deepfakes of Mr. Cruise, said he had no contact with the actor or his representatives.

Of course, people who have died can’t consent to being featured in videos. And that matters if dead people — especially celebrities — can be digitally resurrected, as the artist Bob Ross was to sell Mountain Dew, or as Robert Kardashian was last year in a gift to his daughter Kim Kardashian West from her husband, Kanye West.

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