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Deepfake maps could really mess with your sense of the world

Will Knight

Ars Technica

May 30, 2021


Image-manipulation tools capable of creating fake satellite images using AI are spreading. In a paper published online last month, University of Washington professor Bo Zhao employed AI techniques to create so-called deepfakes to alter satellite images of several cities. Zhao and colleagues swapped features between images of Seattle and Beijing to show buildings where there are none in Seattle and to remove structures and replace them with greenery in Beijing. As with deepfake video clips that purport to show people in compromising situations, such imagery could mislead governments or spread on social media, sowing misinformation or doubt about real visual information.