In a video published on YouTube, Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington—in character as Jon Snow—apologized for several mistakes made during the controversial eighth season of the hit HBO show.
There’s just one problem: Harington never uttered the words that appear to come from his mouth. The now-viral video is a so-called deepfake, the term used for videos that have been digitally altered with the intent to deceive viewers.
As deepfake technology gets better, and is available to more people, the Internet could be inundated with believable fake videos that will make it harder for people to discern the truth, experts say.
“Let there be no question that this is a race. The better the manipulators get, the better the detectors need to be. And there are certainly orders of magnitude more manipulators in the race than detectors,” said David Doermann, director of the Artificial Intelligence Institute at the University of Buffalo, during a House Intelligence Committee hearing last Thursday
The Jon Snow video was intended as a parody, Deepfakes are getting frighteningly easy to make, even for people who don’t have major technical skills. A simple Google search for “how to create a deepfake” also offers guides for people looking to make their own fake videos. And last week, researchers from Stanford University, the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Princeton University, and Adobe Research showed how they were able to develop software that allows people to easily change what someone is saying in a video. It’s as easy as editing a Microsoft Word document.