2015’s Terminator Genisys was notable for little more than a leather-clad Emilia Clarke, but it did give us a nice nod to nostalgia with the appearance of a young Arnold Schwarzenegger fighting the current version of himself. The scene was made possible through the leaps and bounds made by special effects departments, which have driven film production firmly into the digital age. Gone are camera tricks and stunt doubles- post production is king.

The ability to transpose and play with people’s faces with software inevitably found its way into porn recently. The industry has always embraced technological trend and has indeed acted as a trailblazer in bringing trends to the internet, from 4k quality video to interactive advertising.

The movement started on popular content aggregator site Reddit. A tech-savvy user used AI training techniques such as machine learning to compile hundreds of images of celebrities on an algorithm, letting the software improve itself over time to produce realistic fake pornography.

The innovation caught on fast, with fifteen thousand subscribing to the dedicated forum for ‘deepfakes’ within a month. A user-friendly app called FakeApp was developed, with a dedicated tutorial. While the trend has been focused on celebrities so far, there is no telling how far the technology could travel now that the cat is out of the bag. Fakes produced with people you may know could easily come to be produced, creating further doubt as to the validity of what you see on the internet in the era of fake news.

Reddit followed Twitter and other sites in moving to block deepfakes after the phenomenon began to gain media attention, as concerns grew over the potential for the creation of fake child porn. There is no telling what this technology could develop into, or the societal implications of it. There is no way to block the disturbing trend easily; the internet can never truly be wiped clean. There can only be trust in human restraint to prevent an unprecedented invasion of privacy lest we find ourselves in our own Black Mirroresque scenario.

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