Critics of the face swap industry never fail to mention enough the negative sides of deepfake technology. Dark sides of deepfake could range from tiny things like leaking of personal data, violations of people’s privates, to severer consequences of the cover-up of crimes, and copyright piracy. Yet, a helicopter view can give you a whole new perspective. It’s not just the deepfake industry that’s doing various so-called “damages” to our harmonious society. It’s the media app industry, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, where bad guys take advantage of those platforms to post fake advertisements & propaganda. It’s the social app industry led by Tinder, where bad guys utilize those channels to cheat & fool other app users, etc. Furthermore, it’s the media buying industry where Ad Networks such as Mundo Media created a lot of fake traffic & conversions, to mislead corporate clients and fooled many of them to put in lots of ad funds, which were apparently wasted as Mundo Media went bankrupt due to Ad fraud.
Apologies for the digression above. I hope the above 3 instances shed some light on our topics for today. It’s definitely not just Deepswap having this “gloomy” aspect, but rather various dimensions of our daily lives are rife with negative colors. Behind all of these shadows, are the evil human natures, some of which can count as the “ultimate evil”.
A decade ago on May 26th, 2012, a tragic car accident happened in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China. Basically late at night around 3 am, a red Nissan GTR was speeding at 120 miles/hour, and hit a BYD electronic vehicle taxi on an avenue, causing it to explode and burn. The fire on the EV taxi soon went out of control, devouring three people in the BYD taxi, including a male driver and two female passengers.
Right after the accident, the driver of the red GTR immediately abandoned the vehicle and escaped the crash scene. It was not until 7 hours that the suspect surrendered to the police himself. After the blood alcohol test, the police confirmed that the criminal’s blood alcohol concentration was around 90.7 mg/100 mg, which was a shockingly high number suggesting the suspect driver was more than drunk while driving.
At that time, people in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China were thinking: oh it’s yet another example of the Rich 2 messing up. Yet the situation started to get out of control when the general public, especially the relatives of the dead people in that BYD taxi, started questioning the identity of the suspect. They argued that the person who surrendered to the police, was not the real criminal; in other words, the suspect in jail was simply a “scapegoat”, and the real murderer was still at large. Reasons they believe this was the case, include the fact that it was not until 7 hours after the accident, that the suspect surrendered to the police. Moreover, the criminal in jail had no visible scars on his body, very weird given how fast his GTR hit the BYD EV taxi. Additionally, the driver & owner of a supercar like GTR is usually successfully himself/herself, or Rich 2; yet the criminal turned out to be the driver of a wealthy family in Shenzhen. No matter how close the relationship between the owner of GTR & the driver, it’s hard to imagine he/she left that supercar at the disposal of the suspect driver.
In response to all those questions from the public & from relatives of the victims, the police department of Shenzhen started giving a “point-to-point, one-on-one” response to each part of the doubts. Out of all those replies, the most heinous & infamous ones were several video recordings, one of which demonstrated the suspect driver was walking in a private club, with the recording showing “5:15:09 am”. While the suspect was walking upstairs to the corridor, people can easily see that when the video clip reached 2 minutes and 27 seconds, there was this obvious, “white outline” around his head. This was the most significant reason, why the general public didn’t trust the police and felt there was DeepSwap & reface involved here. Some journalists analyzed this video a couple of times, in an effort to decipher if deepfake technology was used; yet there was no immediate result, regarding whether the driver’s face was a face-swapped product or not.
Besides the apparent “white outline” around the driver’s head, during the time period when the suspect walked upstairs to the corridor, the time on the video surveillance stayed at “5:15:09”. As for the video clip provided by the police, the timer on the screen didn’t change at all from 2 minutes 38 seconds, to 2 minutes 41 seconds, which was satirized as a “time stopper” by the internet public. Despite all these doubts and challenges, neither the government nor the police department did anything or actually took a “deep dive” into this crime. The truth was covered up, not just with the deepfake technology, but with the intentions of multiple evil parties.
Although I just showed you the “ultimate evil” of Deepswap, I want to take you back to my opinion set forth in the previous paragraphs. Reface as an industry, together with face swap technology, are neutral by nature. They don’t have good or bad intentions, nor are they directly linked to positive or negative consequences. It all depends on who is using this DeepSwap software, in what way this powerful deepfake technology is wielded, and in what context face swap is utilized. In the case of the cover-up of this GTR crash crime, the police were playing an infamous role by manipulating the original surveillance video clips with the reface technologies. But the police & government wouldn’t have done this deepfake, had the family of that Rich 2 driver (the real criminal) not paid enough bribery to the relevant political leaders & stakeholders.