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Pro-Social Deep Fakes? w/ Stephanie Lepp – Parallax Views

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On this edition of Parallax Views, much has been made about the dark, harmful, deceptive, and negative ways which deepfake technology can be utilized as its usage becomes democratized in the coming years. From racists using the tech to make the black lead actress of Disney’s upcoming live-action The Little Mermaid white to involuntary pornography and nudification apps, there are some noxious ways the tech has been used so far. That said, can their also be positive uses for these technologies? Artist Stephanie Lepp believes it can and has played with deepfakes in her Webby Award-winning project Deep Reckonings, which imagines controversial figures like Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg confronting the worst aspects of themselves vis-a-vis deepfaked conversations.

Stephanie joins us on this edition of the program to discuss the potential for pro-social deepfakes as seen in her Deep Reckonings series as well as:

– Re-evaluating our ideas around Accountability and redemption at our current social/cultural juncture

– The origins of Deep Reckonings, Stephanie’s Reckoning podcast, and her imaginary conversation with the Pope (in which the Catholic Church’s leader reckons with the Church’s sexual abuse scandal)

– A discussion about Alex Jones, how he’s seemed to change over the years, his doubling down on having done nothing wrong in his handling/coverage of the Sandy Hook case, and his interviews with Joe Rogan

– Charles Koch and Stephanie’s idea for a reckoning he’d have regarding the issue of climate change; taking people as acting in good faith even if they’re ideas our wrong

– Technology and our relationship with knowledge; evolving our concept of truth; ecstatic truth and truth through fiction

– Is deepfake technology good, bad, or neutral?; context and culture in relation to deepfake tech’s use; technological determinism

– Stephanie’s early activism related to the environment and how it played a role in her later endeavors like Deep Reckonings

– Social change and personal transformation

– Future deep reckonings; Vladimir Putin; our relationship to truth and propaganda

– The politics of synthetic media; do technologies have political qualities?

And much, much more!


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