This month on Flash Forward, we go to a future where anybody can make a video of you doing anything they want.
And that technology is cheap and easy to access. What happens?
This episode we start by talking about the technology as it exists now. Hamed Pirsiavash the show to explain his research into generating videos using algorithms.
Hal Hodson, a tech reporter at The Economist, tells us about how it could be used in movies. Right now, movie-makers use CGI to project faces onto other faces. Recently, in the latest Star Wars, the faces of Princess Leia and Grand Moff Tarkin from the original trilogy were projected onto actors faces for the few scenes in the new movie.
But in the future, they might not have to do any of this. They could simply generate the video they need using images of Leia and Tarkin’s faces. Which also means that movie stars could wind up being in hundreds of movies a year, since they don’t have to actually be there, on set, to act. And they could keep acting in movies long after they’ve died, too.
That’s a fun thing to think about. Here’s a less fun thing to think about: how people would use this technology to seek revenge and ruin people’s lives. And to talk through the legal implications, I called Carrie Goldberg, a lawyer who specializes in revenge porn cases. She explains how these generated videos of the future would actually get around today’s revenge porn laws.
Then, to wrap it all up, I talk to Jenna Wortham, a writer for the New York Times Magazine and the co-host of an amazing podcast called Still Processing. In a world where online identities are not only personally valuable, but economically valuable, what does this do to us? When anybody can torpedo your finely crafted online persona with a fake video, do we all just give up? Do we try to erase everything from the internet about ourselves? Or do we lean into this and start making wild aspirational and experimental videos? Or maybe all of the above?
Bonus: You will also find out what butter, The Falkland Islands, and Snakes on a Train have in common. According to Rose.
Some further reading for this episode:
- The Attorney Fighting Revenge Porn
- Social Media Got You Down? Be More Like Beyonce
- The future of fake news is real time video manipulation
- The Butter Wars: When Margarine Was Pink
- The British Punk Band That Fooled Reagan, Thatcher and the CIA
- Introduction to Generative Adversarial Networks
- Teaching Machines to Predict the Future
Full transcript available in site.