Episode 21: ‘Fake Believe’
Producer/Director Andréa Schmidt
Watch — very closely — as an ambitious group of A.I. engineers and machine-learning specialists try to mimic reality with such accuracy that you may not be able to tell what’s real from what’s not.
If successful, they’ll have created the ultimate deepfake, an ultrarealistic video that makes people appear to say and do things they haven’t. Experts warn it may only be a matter of time before someone creates a bogus video that’s convincing enough to fool millions of people.
Over several months, “The Weekly” embedded with a team of creative young engineers developing the perfect deepfake — not to manipulate markets or game an election, but to warn the public about the dangers of technology meant to dupe them. The team picked one of the internet’s most recognizable personalities, the comedian and podcaster Joe Rogan, who unwittingly provided the inspiration for the engineers’ deepfake moonshot.
Can they perfect the technology before someone else pulls off the ultimate scam? Or do they risk introducing a tool that can forever be used to cloud the truth?
Senior Story Editors Dan Barry, Liz O. Baylen, and Liz Day
Director of Photography Victor Tadashi Suarez with Andreas Burgess and Jaron Berman
Video Editor Pierre Takal
Producer Lora Moftah
Associate Producer Wesley Harris