We’ve spent the last year wringing our hands about a crisis that doesn’t exist
If you’ve been following tech news in the past year, you’ve probably heard about deepfakes, the widely available, machine-learning-powered system for swapping faces and doctoring videos. First reported by Motherboard at the end of 2017, the technology seemed like a scary omen after years of bewildering misinformation campaigns. Deepfake panic spread broader and broader in the months that followed, with alarm-raising articles from Buzzfeed (several times), The Washington Post (several times), and The New York Times (several more times). It’s not an exaggeration to say that many of journalism’s most prominent writers and publications spent 2018 telling us this technology was an imminent threat to public discourse, if not truth itself.
But more than a year after the first fakes started popping up on Reddit, that threat hasn’t materialized.