Synthetic media—so-called deep fakes—have captured the imagination of some and struck fear in others. Although they vary in their form and creation, deep fakes refer to text, image, audio, or video that has been automatically synthesized by a machine-learning system. Deep fakes are the latest in a long line of techniques used to manipulate reality, yet their introduction poses new opportunities and risks due to the democratized access to what would have historically been the purview of Hollywood-style studios. This review describes how synthetic media is created, how it is being used and misused, and if (and how) it can be perceptually and forensically distinguished from reality.
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