Here come the celeb deepfake ads

Source: reAlpha

The image of Elon Musk taking a bubble bath once only existed in our deepest, darkest nightmares. 

But thanks to deepfake technology, that image, along with other celebrity facsimiles, has been brought into the real world for the noblest of purposes… advertising!

Driving the news: Deepfakes are growing in popularity with small brands to generate buzzy content featuring celebs without having to shell out endorsement money, per The WSJ

  • Companies mostly use celeb deepfakes right now for internal videos for training, comms, or parties, but the technology is starting to spread into marketing.
  • Although celebrities do not consent to videos, reAlpha (the company behind the Elon Musk video) thinks it’ll avoid legal trouble because it’s ‘educational’ and ‘satirical.’
  • The laws surrounding deepfakes are still evolving, but if these companies are taken to court, they could potentially use a defence based on free speech or parody laws. 

What’s next: Celebs could soon start consenting to have deepfakes featured in ads, something Bruce Willis reportedly did in 2020 (though his team has since disputed this).

  • Companies would still have to spend big, but the ability to generate ads without the star actually having to be on set saves time and money while creating more content.

Why it matters: Having one’s likeness appropriated without permission isn’t just a threat to celebs. Regular folks have been the target of deepfakes through extortion scams and revenge porn.  

  • Up to 95% of all deepfakes manifest as porn, the overwhelming majority of which feature women that did not give consent, according to research firm Sensity AI. 

Bottom line: As the AI-generated art sector booming at a rapid pace, you could be seeing a lot more deepfakes around you very soon.