Are You Better Than a Machine at Spotting a Deepfake?

Sarah Vitak: This is Scientific American’s 60 Second Science. I’m Sarah Vitak. 

Early last year a TikTok of Tom Cruise doing a magic trick went viral. 

[Deepfake Tom Cruise] I’m going to show you some magic. It’s the real thing. I mean, it’s all the real thing.

Vitak: Only, it wasn’t the real thing. It wasn’t really Tom Cruise at all. It was a deepfake. 

Matthew Groh: A deepfake is a video where an individual's face has been altered by a neural network to make an individual do or say something that the individual has not done or said.

Vitak: That is Matt Groh, a PhD student and researcher at the MIT Media lab. (Just a bit of full disclosure here: I worked at the Media Lab for a few years and I know Matt and one of the other authors on this research.)

Groh: It seems like there's a lot of anxiety and a lot of worry about deepfakes and our inability to, you know, know the difference between real or fake.

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