Decoding Deepfakes

Container's first social media campaign explored deepfakes and our collective understanding of them.

An image of Jack who is smiling into the camera in front of a colourful background. Jack is a white man with short brown hair. He is wearing a black top, blue cord overshirt and black cargo trousers

By Jack Jones
31 Aug 2021

THIS ARTICLE IS IN RESPONSE TO DEEP NOSTALGIA

A sepia photograph showing four members of Ashanti Anderson's family with their faces pixelated.

Image from Ashanti Anderson

To compensate for generations of lost family history, poet and writer Ashanti Anderson turns to deepfake technology to connect with three members of her family through poetry.

Deepfakes utilise highly powerful technology to imitate events and moments through sound, image and video. Having previously been something of technological fiction and novelty spectacle these experimental programs are starting to seep into the everyday. 


Deepfakes utilise highly powerful technology to imitate events and moments through sound, image and video. Having previously been something of technological fiction and novelty spectacle, these experimental programs are starting to seep into the everyday.

To explore our audience’s reaction to the technology, Container created four completely different deepfakes. We were particularly interested to see how different ages, lives and stories affected responses across social media. Would our community view a deepfake of a baby differently to a deepfake of an older woman? Is it easier to decipher or understand?

An image of a zebra crossing with several people walking across. Five of the people have been pixelated.

We chose to have this conversation on social media as it is increasingly becoming a polarised space in which divisive opinions reign above all else. Could we use it differently, as a collaborative tool? Despite the negative culture, social media does offer the opportunity to connect individuals from all over the world, discussing technology in structured spaces. 

Using social media to build a collaborative piece of writing offers a new way for Container to develop content and puts our community at the centre of the production process. Continuing to explore how content can be created and published in collaboration with our readers directly is an exciting possibility. 

We have created four poems based on Container’s community responses. Each captures unique responses from our community, decoding deepfakes before they begin to proliferate into our everyday lives. Thank you to everyone who took part.


A deepfake of a white baby with dark brown hair, slowing moving it’s head and exhibiting strange facial expressions

Babies don’t stare like that.
The eye contact feels
compelling
wrong
unreal
mesmerising
in fact, slightly off putting.

A flicker of humanness.
A biological connection
Bang on for a second
I can’t look away
This tiny human is pulling me in
Slightly disconcerting

Uncanny valley
It’s the strangeness of the whole face that wins
Generated again
Babies don’t stare like that.


A deepfake of a black young woman with braids. The woman is moving her head slowly.

It makes me wonder who she is
what her hopes are
what her dreams are
who she loves
who loves her.

It makes me think that phone apps have come a long way
Speculating
about the future
Inventions
Iterations
Implications.

It makes me feel uneasy
scared
what’s next?


A deepfake of an middle aged man wearing a baseball cap slowly smiling at the camera

A common language
The deep smile lines
Asymmetric face
Eyes telling me stories
Happy evenings
Raucous laughter
Tears streaming down cheeks

A common language
without having to know
them:
A reserved person
Lets loose once in a while
A better father than his own.

A common language
A sense of connection
Between us
Facial expressions
Body language
He acts just in the way I do.


A deepfake of an elderly lady smiling and looking into the camera. She has brown hair and a bindi on her forehead as well as gold jewellery.

What is human connection?
When do we trust?
On closer inspection I start to doubt.

Will it draw us
closer?
Will it drive us
apart?
Unmistakably
human?


 

How do these poems make you feel? Do they echo your thoughts? Do they challenge them? Do you think deepfakes will connect us or drive us apart?

Head to over to our Instagram or Twitter to see how the campaign worked.

Share