Deepfakes and Recruitment

We are used to technology evolving quickly and coming up with new and surprising updates and solutions. Many recruiters and sourcers love A.I. because it’s going to make our work easier and help improve the candidate experience. But what is about to follow is not one of the best usages of A.I. that can happen to our world.

Not long ago videos called “deepfake” (an ultrarealistic fake video made with artificial intelligence software) started appearing on the online forum Reddit. All these videos were created by a program called FakeApp, developed by an anonymous programmer.

This app utilized the latest A.I. deep learning technology to replace the faces of actors in movies. In other words, the videos that were made with this technology and launched online made people believe that it was the celebrities who acted in those movies.

This technology sounds quite cool but is extremely dangerous because it is effortless to use, which allows people to use the technology to create fake images and videos. Anyone that has no knowledge of the IT or coding domains can create counterfeit videos on any subject that appear very real.

As you can see in this image, the face of actor Alec Baldwin was replaced with the face of the U.S. President Donald Trump. And if the author of the video also used a technology called Lyrebird (https://lyrebird.ai/ video example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfU_sWHT8mo), they could replace Baldwin’s voice with the voice of Trump and the video could fool you and you would trust the message that it would carry.

You can find more examples of deepfake videos here: 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUix6Sk2MZkVOr5PWQrtH1g/videos

Now, you can probably imagine the dangers that arise if someone were to start using this to manipulate masses and with other ill-intended purposes. We are already facing fake news every day, and this could get even worse.

What could happen if DeepFake make frequent appearances in the online environment?

Well, in the less harmful scenarios, if we can say this, some people may get their revenge on others they envy, for example. In the previously mentioned example, with the adult movie actors, most certainly whoever did it wanted to put the name of the celebrities in disgrace, in the eyes of their admirers.

Besides this, it is more than obvious that fake news can be generated this way, as the face of important public figures can be used to transmit fake or misleading messages in the online environment, in a fast and almost uncontrolled manner. So, if we do not pay attention to what we are looking at and what we are hearing, we may end up being manipulated in all the wrong ways.

 

Why This Matters Now

Why does this matter now, considering that face swapping is a method that has been used for quite a while in the film industry? Keep in mind that it was not that easy to swap someone’s face and make it unnoticeable. A lot of skills were required, together with top-notch technology and many hours of hard work to make it happen, so it was used only when there was no other choice. After all, no one enjoys seeing fake videos.

DeepFakes is more dangerous because no skills for editing videos are needed whatsoever. If you have a number of images of two persons, for example, and you introduce them in an A.I. algorithm, then technology will do the hard part and create fake videos of incredible quality. And bearing in mind that so many of us have our pictures available online, in a public manner and highly accessible, it is very easy for our faces to appear in this kind of fake videos. It already sounds scary.

Still, we all know that photos and images can be faked with ease. This is why most of us have stopped believing everything we see, especially if some details appear to be rather suspicious.

How can DeepFakes influence our society in the near future? Just let us think about politics. Every politician would like to get as many people as possible on their side, which also means that some may try to use tricks to get the attention of the masses. In fact, some of the people that create DeepFakes in their spare time ended up creating replicas of Trump, Hillary Clinton, Margaret Thacker, Barack Obama, and even Vladimir Putin.

According to experts, these videos appear rather realistic if they are not closely analyzed, which means that future elections could be influenced by the appearance of such videos in the public environment.

Caught in the whirlpool surrounding the future elections, people may find it hard to detect which videos are real and which are fake. Thus, they may end up voting for the wrong person or change their opinions along the way. How soon may we end up facing such risks? Experts say that an attempt to manipulate public elections with the help of DeepFakes may be real by 2020.

 

Deepfakes and Recruitment

It’s not just politics that can be severely affected by the existence of DeepFakes. Let us take hiring and recruitment. Imagine that one person, who is rejected after an interview for a job in a particular company, wishes to get back at the CEO, and launches a fake video containing their face. I already wrote an article about how much your company is losing if you are not getting feedback to candidates, but this video could hurt your company brand or the personal brand of every person involved in the process.

Even if this activity is illegal, imagine the damage that this video could do. People that will see it could believe it, and also if this video is fake, it will have already damaged the reputation of that person on the video.

So, as you can see, the number of scenarios can be extremely varied, as it allows sufficient room for creativity and imagination to manifest freely. Unfortunately, the final result will always be our manipulation, as these videos have no other purpose but to make us believe things that don’t exist.

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Maybe one day this technology will bring some benefit to our recruitment branding and process, but trying to guess how the technology is going to be used is just a speculation. We will have to wait and see what the future is going to bring to us.

However, this technology is a great reminder not to trust everything we see, hear or read. And it’s also a great reminder to do a regular search on your name.

Companies are already doing regular brand audits, but what about you? When was the last time you tried to Google your name and see what your digital footprint looks like?

What you find when you do will likely surprise you, and not necessarily in a pleasant way. Sometimes you will be astonished at what things you can find from your past or things that you didn’t create, but they could create an impression that you have something to do with them. As you can see in this example, I have no connection with this product, but it could create an impression that I do.

Create a habit and try to Google your name from time to time, especially when you are looking for a new job.

 

Conclusion

Be wary and suspicious when encountering videos in the online environment and don’t believe what you see before you do some thorough research on the subject, primarily if the video addresses an important matter.

If you are a recruiter, don’t make hasty decisions on your candidates, because a fake will always remain a fake and it will be easy to prove it with good arguments and valid pieces of information.