What are the chances of deepfakes poisoning the integrity of the UK’s current General Election? Probably a lot higher now a think tank has created clips of the two frontrunners endorsing each other for the likes of The Telegraph to share under the headline: Jeremy Corbyn urges voters to back Boris Johnson for prime minister in disturbing deepfake video (which at the time of writing is the fifth-highest result when you search their names on YouTube). Whoops!
Less highlighting the threat deepfakes pose to democracy than actually fuelling it, then, research organisation Future Advocacy and artist Bill Posters have unwittingly cast themselves as the younger, more sinister Hitchens brother to JOE.co.uk’s exuberant-but-dead Christopher.
The experiment, however, falls at its final hurdle by failing to use an adequate Corbyn impersonator, leaving him sounding a bit like Alan Bennett standing in for David Walliams in a Dennis Waterman sketch.
Undeterred, the Barclay boys’ mouthpiece, already spending £275,000 a year on Johnson, has tried its luck with a misleadingly lopsided title. But at least it had the decency to annex a clarification that it’s a deepfake right at the end of it – something its readership will surely pick up on before voting Conservative anyway.