We are officially entering the age of the Deep Fake, where video production can be manipulated so convincingly that we may never be able to trust our own eyes again. And it’s becoming something of a problem in terms of how it can sway public opinion.
Take for example the recent decision by the Trump administration to move a small group of U.S. military members and support staff out of the way of Turkish forces as it invaded Northern Syria in an attack against the Syrian Democratic Forces, leaving some Kurdish forces to face the onslaught.
There was a great deal of debate over the controversial decision given the U.S. relationship with Kurds in the region who had fought alongside U.S. troops to help squash the rise of the Islamic State.
Many Americans on both sides of the political aisle were critical of the decision, suggesting the U.S. had left allies to be slaughtered. To that end, videos began appearing that bolstered that narrative, with one particularly disturbing video purported to be a Kurdish woman holding up a dead child and condemning the U.S.
The video, if that is indeed what it contains, is tragic and went quickly viral. Now however, there’s some question as to whether it’s real as the child in question seems to be blinking her eyes and moving her head. To be fair, the woman, if the translation is correct in the below video, does acknowledge that she doesn’t know if the child is alive or dead. But the video was circulated as proof the Kurds were being indiscriminately killed. (WARNING: the video, while not particularly graphic, may be uncomfortable for some viewers. Watch at your own risk.)
But here’s the rub: it’s just as possible that the video has been manipulated to make it appear the child is in fact alive, when she is, in fact, dead.
The point is, we’ve entered a new age of communication where you may not be able to trust your own lying eyes.
Good luck out there.