Deepfakes and the Infocalypse Book Summary By Nina Schick

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In Deepfakes and the Infocalypse, author Robert T.

Hull takes on the important but frequently overlooked task of addressing the dangers posed by deepfakes—highly realistic, audiovisual material created artificially.

Scammers and hackers have already begun to use this powerful technology for nefarious purposes — blackmailing businesses and harassing individuals, just to name a few.

What's more, governments are now getting into the act on an unprecedented scale, with countries around the world utilizing these tools to influence public opinion via blatant disinformation.

Robert T.

Hull urges readers to thoughtfully prepare for a world where deepfakes become commonplace - because if not addressed in time, we risk being swept away in an information apocalypse that could potentially have devastating implications for all of us.

This is a must-read book for anyone interested in learning more about this burgeoning field and its potential impact on all of us going forward.

Deepfakes and the Infocalypse

Book Name: Deepfakes and the Infocalypse (What You Urgently Need To Know)

Author(s): Nina Schick

Rating: 3.9/5

Reading Time: 23 Minutes

Categories: Science

Author Bio

Nina Schick is a respected expert at the intersection between technology and politics.

Having served previously as Communications Director of Open Europe, a think tank devoted to EU reform, she now works closely with some of the biggest news organizations in the world - Bloomberg, Sky, CNN and BBC - while also having her articles featured by The Times and Sunday Telegraph.

Recently Nina has been focusing on deepfakes, an emerging technology which can create near-perfect replicas of people in videos or images.

To further spread awareness about potential pitfalls of advances in computer-generated imagery, she published her bestselling book "Infocalypse: How We Move From Crisis to Opportunity".

It’s an essential read for anyone who wants to develop a better understanding of this technology.

How Deepfakes Have Taken Us To The Edge Of An Infocalypse


The video of President Obama delivering a dire warning about the state of our world is evidence enough that we are facing an increasingly serious information crisis.

In the fake video, Obama warns us that “how we move forward in the Age of Information is going to be the difference between whether we survive or become some fucked-up dystopia.” This warning is more relevant now than ever.

Sadly, our world has already reached a tipping point where it’s impossible to fully trust the information being disseminated.

We call this slippery surface of lies and misinformation the “Infocalypse,” and deepfakes are one of its most dangerous weapons.

Thanks to image manipulation technology powered by AI, it’s possible to create convincing visual forgeries that can spread like wildfire on social media platforms like YouTube and Reddit.

What’s even more frightening is how deepfakes have been used to silence journalists speaking out against powerful interests, as well as how they’ve been utilized in cyber warfare operations on small countries without adequate protection protocols in place.

Deepfake Technology Has Opened A Dark And Dangerous Path Of Misinformation

Photo, video, and audio manipulation has become easier than ever before thanks to AI.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a type of software that processes information through deep learning and enables it to make decisions autonomously.

This means that it can sort through large amounts of data and make decisions based on what it has “learned” from said data.

The result of this is deepfakes which are videos, images or audio clips that have been manipulated using AI technology in order to change the original content of the clip.

The results can be convincing and easily passed off as authentic.

Deepfake technology has been used in a variety of ways already; for instance, an anonymous user posted deepfakes on Reddit in 2017 that swapped people’s faces onto existing videos, creating what we know today as deepfake porn; non-consensual, embarrassing content created without permission and virtually impossible to remove once made public.

What makes AI so dangerous is its ability to take existing information and create something new – an almost identical copy of reality except with minor changes manipulated by the AI itself.

It may soon become impossible to tell when a photograph, video or sound clip is real or fake and as technology continues advancing so too does this potential for deception.

How Kremlin-Backed Disinformation Is Divisive, Potent And Growing More Dangerous

Russia’s been a master of disinformation and information warfare since long before the United States even thought about it.

Over the years, they have amplified false stories and manipulated public opinion with crafted media messages designed to spread intentionally misleading information.

One example was Operation Infektion which was launched in the 1980s during the height of the AIDS epidemic.

Russia used an obscure Indian newspaper called The Patriot to make outrageous claims that the US military released AIDS as a bioweapon.

While there was a tiny grain factual information to back up this claim, it quickly dividing Americans from within their own country, especially exploiting racial tensions by specifically targeting African Americans.

More recently, we’ve seen Russia engage in political interference tactics during the 2016 election (“Project Lakhta”).

They created carefully managed communities across social media platforms precisely made to polarize people and turn them against Hillary Clinton.

It worked too well, creating partisanship so deep that now one side is overly paranoid while denying that any threat even exists.

We can only imagine what will happen when deepfakes further complicate matters!

Not only can this technology spread believable disinformation instantly, but its use has potentially devastating implications for our future.

There is no doubt that we should look at Russia as a master of information warfare and prepare ourselves against any potential threats they may pose.

Donald Trump And The Infocalypse: The Dangerous Normalization Of Deceit In The Us

Donald Trump

Since the global survey of 2018, it has been evident that democracies are facing a crisis of trust.

64% of the people living in democratic countries felt that their governments did not act in their best interest, while those in non-democratic countries largely felt differently.

This formidable lack of faith can mostly be attributed to US President Donald Trump and his false or misleading claims.

Statistics show that between January 2017 and January 2020, Trump made over 18 thousand such statements – an average of 15 lies daily.

Furthermore, Trump also undermines any opposing form of discourse by labeling it ‘fake news’.

But what could be even more aggressive is the increasing prevalence of deepfakes, which can make people look bad without actually involving much work at all compared to cheapfakes (shoddily miscontextualized or unprofessionally edited images, audio clips, or videos).

The White House digital team themselves have engaged with fake media before when they shared an InfoWars video portraying Jim Acosta as if he physically assaulted one of their interns; he was subsequently deprived of his press pass at the White House because it seemed ‘real’ enough to them despite being far from accurate.

All these events point to a grim future for democracies like the US; where truth itself becomes suspect due to President Trump’s normalization of polarization and deceit.

It seems like America is heading towards an apprehension-inducing tipping point.

The Infocalypse: A Global Threat With Deadly Consequences For The Unstable Democracies

The Infocalypse is a global problem that has deadly consequences in countries with less robust democracies, as seen in the cases of India and Myanmar.

In India, deepfakes were used to target investigative journalist Rana Ayyub, who immediately received hundreds of death and rape threats, as well as her personal details being doxxed.

Similarly, in Myanmar an ultranationalistic Buddhist monk spread false information that incited mobs to storm Mandalay and eventually lead to 25,000 Rohingya Muslims being massacred.

These examples showcase how the misuse and abuse of digital technology can have devastating effects when it comes to democratic freedoms and human rights.

Witness’s 2019 survey revealed that journalists and activists from Brazil, South Africa and Malaysia all agreed their own governments posed a greater threat than foreign states.

It’s clear that those living in less robust democracies are particularly vulnerable to the Infocalypse – and without preventative measures taken now, its effects could be catastrophic.

Deepfakes Pose A Grave Threat To Businesses And Individuals Alike

Deepfakes pose an alarming threat to businesses and individuals in the future.

It’s already been seen in the past how criminals have defrauded unsuspecting victims of large sums of money.

In March 2019, The Wall Street Journal reported that a British energy company was defrauded of over 250,000 euros by a group of scammers who used deepfake audio to mimic the voice of that firm’s CEO.

If criminals use deepfakes rather than just a silicone mask, as in the case where 50 million euros were stolen using a face-mask with the likeness of French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian back in 2016, then their success rate could be multiplied significantly.

Not only are businesses at risk from deepfake scams but individuals too – especially women.

Deepfake porn has proven to be an effective tool for cyber bullies.

Women can suffer huge emotional harm when their private memories or photos are shopped into fake pornography and distributed across the internet without their consent.

In addition, there are darker implications if deepfakes were used to push certain agendas – such as making fraudulent homosexual porn which would further jeopardize marginalised communities living in harsher legal climates globally.

It is clear that all parties must take steps now to prepare for this deepening Infocalypse and protect themselves from the new threats coming from deepfakes.

The Dangers Of Misinformation During A Global Crisis

Global Crisis

State actors have long been accused of spreading false information and propagation of untruths.

This has been no different during the coronavirus pandemic.

Russia, in particular, has been using the crisis to exploit growing political tensions between the US and China.

Moscow launched a campaign among its citizens that COVID-19 had been created as a bioweapon by the US government against China.

They also suggested that it was actually China’s own bioweapon developed to attack their rivals.

In addition to this, China has taken steps such as censorship, silencing of doctors, whistleblowers and even ordinary citizens who speak out, removing outbreak-related keywords on social media in order to achieve damage control and protect their image abroad.

At the same time, President Trump in America downplayed the risk of the virus, made confident claims at press briefings which often contradicted his prior statements or lacked factual evidence altogether, leaving citizens caught in a muddled mess with uncertain truth.

It is clear now more than ever that state actors have been spreading misinformation about coronavirus throughout this global pandemic for their own political benefit rather than providing accurate information to allow citizens around the world to make informed decisions about their safety and health.

Defending Yourself From The Infocalypse: A Reactive And Proactive Approach

It is clear that the Infocalypse poses a huge risk to societies around the globe.

In order to fight it, both a reactive and proactive approach is necessary.

This involves recognizing its gravity, agreeing on terminology relating to deepfakes and furthering our knowledge on the subject.

Fortunately, there are already steps that can be taken; including supporting credible journalism, maintaining fact-checking services such as NewsGuard and using laptop-based tools to protect ourselves from disinformation.

The example of Estonia proves that even small countries have been able to effectively battle cyberattacks and information warfare.

By forming an early warning system, volunteering experts for assistance and constructing strong cyber defenses – stability was maintained in the face of Russia’s relentless attacks.

Therefore, we too have this choice – either allow for real and fake to become intertwined or work together against the looming threat of deepfakes and the Infocalpyse.

Wrap Up

The Deepfakes and the Infocalypse book shows us the potential risks of AI-generated deepfakes, which can no longer be distinguished from authentic content.

In order to equip ourselves against this danger, we must start exposing ourselves to deepfakes right now.

Doing so will allow us to recognize fake content when it begins encroaching on our lives in the near future, putting us in a better position to protect ourselves from becoming victims of the Infocalypse.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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