Wired Crime: the deepfake and the case of the cheerleader in Pennsylvania

For deepfake we mean a video manipulated so that whoever is portrayed in it does things. Things that, very often, are very far away from the actions that the protagonist normally does. It is, in fact, a profound manipulation, deep, in fact, anything but coarse. We cannot improvise deepfake creators since it is necessary to have software that, using thousands of images, can recreate completely realistic, but not real, situations with the human image synthesis technique based on artificial intelligence. Precisely because thousands of images are needed, i celebrities they are among the almost exclusive victims of deepfakes. In fact, it is difficult for anyone to be interested in creating a deepfake of the unknown neighbor.

On the net, some time ago, there was a video that he represented Tom Cruise, and it was not he, of course, who was addressing the webcam directly: Tom Cruise is notoriously one of the stars who does not use social media, has accounts on some platforms, but uses them for some sporadic forays exclusively to publish movie trailers. Nothing more. He therefore seemed strange, unlikely, to the attentive fans, that he really had made a video of that type. And in fact he hadn’t.

Scarlett Johansson was the victim of a deepfake that featured her in a porn video. The actress decided to use the experience to draw attention to the dangerous phenomenon. Just think, even for a moment, of political fiction. And in the case of the deepfake in which Zelensky announced her surrender.

This is just to say that when the first deepfake case ended in an arrest it involved a rather popular American student at her school because some cheerleader was perhaps a little perplexed.

But how? There are actors, sportsmen and public figures who do and say they know very singular in deepfakes and to end up in handcuffs is a fifty-year-old from the American province who, according to the allegations, is the author of a deepfake so realistic that it seems true?

The story begins with a video circulated in a mom chat, like many there are. In the video one of the cheerleaders, the most popular, he was smoking an electronic cigarette. There would have been nothing so striking, had it not been that the team belongs to total ban of smoke.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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