The big mood these days is waiting on the tech apocalypse. All it takes is a video of a humanoid robot displaying the motor skills of a 6-year-old to have people preparing for Skynet to kill us all. The same goes, perhaps even more so, for fears of “deepfakes”: software getting good enough that anybody with an iPhone can doctor fake videos that can spark a riot. Seeing computers convincingly putting words in the mouths of presidents is scary, and once a Macedonian teenager can do it in minutes it’s game over, so the thinking goes.
But if the last few years — and yes, the particularly hellish last few days — have taught us anything, it’s that fake video isn’t going to destroy our ability to see the truth. It’s the real video we need to worry about, and our true problem is that we can all see the very same thing and disagree on what it was.