South Africa: Stop Believing Your Lying Eyes - Deepfakes Are Coming, and They Might Reshape SA's Politics

analysis

Politics is going to get dirtier and rougher, and voters will have to become more and more cynical. We may soon no longer be able to believe our eyes and ears and will have to disregard anything that is not a live transmission.

As South Africa's political battles continue, and ahead of the local elections, there is now evidence that we are about to enter a new phase that could undermine trust and legitimacy even further. Soon, voice recordings and videos of our political leaders will be subject to manipulation that could have a major impact in ways that are as yet impossible to fully assess.

If this does occur -- and it will be surprising if it does not -- given the partisan divides in SA politics and society, it will have a momentous long-term impact on the country, making it impossible for already thoroughly confused voters to know where the truth lies.

Part of the problem is our increased reliance on technology -- the Covid-19 pandemic has forced the use of virtual meetings to make important decisions that affect our future.

Everyone in our political system has something to lose should this distortion field hit our shores.

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