The Deep Fake

There was a time in my life when I could throw a football.  For a few years in my life, there was little else I could do but throw a football.

The combined talents of a number of my friends formed a pretty good team. We called ourselves The Falcons. Consisting mostly of New York Jet and New York Giant fans, Falcons seemed a useful compromise. Besides, it looked pretty good on our Gold and White with Black stripes around the shoulder uniforms.

One of our standard pass plays was what I called the loop. Today, I am going to refer to it as the Deep Fake.

It was a simple play. Mike or PJ would run a down and out pattern, and I would do a pump fake, look to the other side of the field all the while the receiver would run down the sideline. Having fully stimied the defensive player, I lofted a bomb that usually was caught by the wide open receiver.

We faked short and went deep.

Today the Deep Fake has nothing to do with football.

Apparently, savvy tech people can create human life. Well, at least to the extent that they can manipulate photographs and images and create a face that does not exist. It looks completely human, and in some ways, they can be very attractive. The trouble is it is a fake face.

Back in 2016, I knew there was something wrong with Facebook or at least with what I was exposed to on Facebook. There was a story that someone posted (not sure where it came from) relating that Hillary Clinton had had four abortions before she gave birth to Chelsea. This sickened me, and I refused to even comment on these types of pornography about a woman who was running for president.

Our concern with identity theft continues to be real. I feel vulnerable doing anything on the internet anymore. It won’t be long until I am sending checks instead of automatic payments. We worry about the big computer disasters. Someone hacking into the electric grid. Someone hacking into the Pentagon and launching an attack. But it is these seemingly minor incursions into our private life, being exposed to false information, that may prove most devastating.

While it is not certain, the 2016 election was affected by Russian hacking if only to sow a seed of doubt into our democratic process. Now, when data can be manipulated to create a face that does not exist, how long will it be that someone creates images of politicians in compromising situations. In the past, we had to rely on their sexting to do that. Now a four hundred pound guy in a New  Jersey basement can do it for us.

I worked at two colleges when they were implementing student information systems. Both were terrible experiences, and many people lost their jobs. Interestingly, it was never the IT people. They were the ones responsible for our schools purchasing inferior systems, they set it up badly, yet it was the users who paid the price. I remember thinking that this era will be deemed the Dark Ages Of Information Technology.

Apparently, we still have a way to go to perfect our technological vulnerability.

I understand the irony of this essay. I am here typing on an Apple Mac, and I am about to share my ideas on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn.

Oh well.

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