To Deepfake the Dead Can Be Very Right

Hamilton is a famous American musical. I would think it encourages people to innovate around how to deepfake the dead because it not only is not wrong, it can be very right.

Visit Grant’s Tomb, meet actors in real life who play him and bring his amazing story to light to get rid of decades of disinformation.

To deepfake the dead can be very right.

The big question is who owns a content control/consent role for someone in our past. If you can’t decide that, there’s a much bigger problem at hand than the presentation layer.

I write this in response to a long blog post by You the Data asking “is it ever ok”, which wanders around this topic yet doesn’t get to the heart of the matter.

…for others to warp, manipulate, and supplement it with inauthentic sentiment or action does seem to wreak damage. This damage — a dilution of the truth — is what critics are responding to. Now, as we begin to figure out what is right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable in this strange new world, we should undoubtedly be considering whether we’re content to be reimagined as a scripted bot, avatar, or deepfake after our death.

Begin to figure out what is right and wrong? What?

Don’t dilute the truth, sure. And don’t blame that on deepfakes.

The presentation layer isn’t as significant here as the need for measuring integrity of any message (e.g. ask any historian if the Hamilton musical is damaging).

The only case to be made here is that people believe in novel platforms more (overlooking obvious errors) because of novelty, but that itself is an ages old problem not unique to deepfakes.

Google’s driverless car for example failed it’s driving test three times (revealed via FOIA) yet was given a license by the state of Nevada anyway because someone stupidly said “let’s give robots a chance”. That’s base human corruption, not really to do with risk from the technology itself.

To deepfake the dead can be very right.

Do I need to say it again?

Now go visit Grant’s Tomb and meet the actors who deepfake Grant and help end the rampant problem of disinformation about him. In fact, finding human actors to deepfake Grant is so costly, using technology to do it inexpensively may be an imperative.

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