People have always felt the need to play with reality, but never before has it been as easy and believable as now. Computer-generated influencers and deepfakes are becoming more and more common, changing the definitions of what ‘real’, ‘fake’ and ‘authentic’ is, and even what we think of as ‘true’.
Nowadays, it might seem harder than ever to truly know what is true and what is fake. Huge amounts of disinformation and media manipulation are being spread on the internet. Social media play a big part in this as everyone has access to it, and everyone can post whatever they think and believe. Generally we would see this as a good thing, but false information is being spread with severe consequences. It has become very easy to be a criminal from your own bedroom and pretend to be someone you are not.
How do we keep a grip on the information society now that artificial intelligence is getting involved in the manipulation game? Digital technology is giving us something close to superpowers. Will we use them to obliterate the distinctions between authenticity and inauthenticity, reality and virtuality, human and machine? Or will we find a way to use technology in service of fighting what’s fake?
Thijs Pepping is a humanistic trend analyst and the co-author of the book Real Fake. In this lecture, he will take you on a deep dive into the game we humans play with reality. According to Pepping, we are on the brink of entering a completely new chapter in our history, with new rules and new possibilities.