How Archivists Could Stop Deepfakes From Rewriting History

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Imagine, however, if experts couldn’t readily identify the diaries as fraudulent. And imagine, also, if forgers were able to create and distribute ultra-realistic fake Nazi records at breakneck speed. Finally, imagine if some of these documents were forever preserved as authentic pieces of Nazi history. A threat like this is edging increasingly out of the hypothetical and into the real as the tools to quickly create realistic manipulated videos go mainstream. These videos, which use machine learning to graft one person’s face onto the body of another, are known as deepfakes—and they’re getting disturbingly good.

While many have feared the potential of deepfakes to spread misinformation in the here and now, these videos could distort reality long after today’s fake news goes viral if they’re improperly archived as legitimate. Gizmodo spoke with several historians, archivists, and professors who were familiar with the deepfakes phenomenon, some of whom had pragmatic concerns about it. Fortunately, archivists have rigidly established principles meant to catch forgeries and screw-ups, but these protections are only as strong as the institutions that provide them.

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Collecting and the age of memeing

An example of old-looking memes. People use methods including screenshots and image compression to make memes appear old. (Photo provided to China Daily)

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Well, with the growth of internet and social media culture, the younger generation has cast their eyes on collecting digital memorabilia.

The collecting of emojis, GIFs and memes has become more and more popular among many youngsters-the older, the better.

Bright, colorful high-definition ones are not popular among the major collectors. No, they want digital “antiques”, older images from the early days of meme culture. The more rudimentary and blurry the memes, the better.

One user on Stage1st, a posting bar for Animation, Comic, Game and Novel themes-or ACGN-defines the pixelation and the faded color of these memes as a “digital patina”. It is now a widely accepted term among like-minded collectors, including one who posted that the definition sounds very “cyberpunk”.