You could be in two places at once - GulfToday

You could be in two places at once


Illustrative image.

I often think that people don’t realise the repercussions of what they are doing; of what they are inventing. I also think that buyer’s remorse is a real thing but only in the minds of the critical thinkers and that the majority of buyers lined up to buy the latest technology don’t realise the long-term permanent effects of weird technology.

Not all technology is bad. Whilst some are indispensable for many activities, it can also be very sinister in that it can sometimes ruin people’s lives. In the past, I’ve frequently written about the litany of woes people have experienced since the advancement of certain types of tech and their applications to new heights but the latest development takes the cake. The phrase ‘what are they thinking?’ comes to mind. It is both sinister and very frightening.

Have you ever told someone that you can’t be in two places at once? Well if you used this technology then you have no excuse to say that again. Just two weeks ago, technologists in the Far East, I can’t recall which country, were boasting about having developed a software that could be used to replicate a human face on screen.

Apparently, the replica is so striking that viewers are unable to tell whether the ‘person’ they are watching is the real person or his software generated replica. If you saw that image, you might also ask yourself, am I looking at a human being or a software bot? It’s virtually impossible to distinguish the two.

What’s more, generally speaking, the extent to which people are oblivious to the potential ramifications of such huge technological developments is staggering to me, given the reactions they have shown over the years. They’re either blank or very ecstatic. Could it be because neither has really thought about their consequences? I mean in terms of what they are? What they could be? What they could become in the future?

We already know that our phones are potential tracking devices. We already know that we can become victims of hackers after our banking information. Knowing this, we try to take precautions. We download the latest firewalls and antivirus software for our laptops, use secure internet systems when accessing our sensitive information online and, recently, many have decided to ditch their smartphones in favour of the old Nokia; one they hope is without Wi-Fi capabilities.

These are all things that we think are within our control, and whether or not they are is a different matter. But in regard to the face generation app or software, or whatever you wish to call it, I foresee that the application of the software can get out of control in the wrong hands.

Why the software was generated is still beyond me. The developers do realise that it can be used to dupe people, don’t they? For example, someone with a vendetta against someone else can easily use the software to put that someone in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We all know that many people have been duped on social media by people pretending to be someone else. They’ve often stolen photos of people online and used them for their profile picture so that an unsuspecting female who is desperate to find love falls for a scammer based simply on a photograph. With this technology this type of scam can be taken one step further if the lady insists on replacing the emails and direct messages with a video chat.

It would not be too difficult for a scammer to pull off posing as someone else if he has done his homework and knows a thing or two about using the software to take someone else’s face. Child predators can also do the same thing. A grown man might then be quite capable of posing as a young boy or girl if his target is a young schoolgirl or schoolboy.

You yourself might think you will never download such a software but I fear that we may not necessarily need to download it ourselves to be put at risk. If a photo or video of you is out there on social media, or if you have videos of yourself on your laptop, what is stopping a scammer from hacking your device to steal the video and use it to replicate your face with the aid of the new software?

I think it’s time for people to develop the habit of critical thinking. To ask questions and to take nothing at face value, no pun intended.

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