Ethics in AI: A Practical Guide to Deepfake Creation
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 7 min read


  1. What are deepfakes?
  2. How to create a deepfake
  3. Ethical considerations in deepfake creation
  4. How to avoid misuse of deepfakes
  5. Legal ramifications of deepfakes
  6. Why ethics matter in AI
  7. How to promote ethical use of AI

Deepfakes and artificial intelligence (AI) are intertwined in a web of ethics, legalities, and endless possibilities. Is it ethical to use AI for deepfake creation? That's a question we're about to explore in depth. From understanding deepfakes, to how they're created, the ethical considerations, and the legal implications they carry. This blog isn't just about informing you, it's about equipping you with knowledge to promote ethical use of AI.

What are deepfakes?

Let's start by understanding what deepfakes really are. The term "deepfake" is a blend of "deep learning" and "fake". It's a technique that uses AI to create or alter videos, images, or audio to make it seem as though a person said or did something they didn't. It's like a digital puppet show, where the puppeteer is AI and the puppet can be anyone—celebrities, politicians, your next-door neighbor, or even you.

Creating these deepfakes involves a process called machine learning, where an AI system is fed tons of data—like photos or videos of a person—and learns to mimic their appearance and voice. The result? A video or image that looks and sounds eerily real.

However, just because deepfakes are fascinating doesn't mean they're always fun and games. When used without consent, they can cause serious harm. This doesn't mean we should fear this technology, but rather, we should be aware of its potential misuse. With this knowledge, we can better navigate questions like "is it ethical to use AI for deepfake creation?" and understand why ethics matter in AI.

Now that you know what deepfakes are, let's dive deeper into how they're created, the ethical factors surrounding them, and how we can promote the responsible use of this powerful technology.

How to create a deepfake

Creating a deepfake might sound like a task meant only for tech wizards, but you'd be surprised at how accessible it's become. Don't get too excited though — remember the ethical considerations we'll be discussing later. So, how does one go about creating a deepfake?

First, you need a stack of images or videos of the person you want to create a deepfake of. Remember, the more material you have, the more convincing the deepfake will be. Next, you'll need an AI system capable of deep learning — this is where the 'deep' in deepfake comes from.

Once you've got your AI system and your images, it's time to let the AI do its magic. The AI learns from the images or videos you provide, analyzing every detail to create a model of the person. This model is then used to generate new images or videos, effectively creating a deepfake.

While it may sound straightforward, creating convincing deepfakes requires a good understanding of AI and machine learning. Plus, ethical considerations must always be at the forefront of your mind. After all, is it ethical to use AI for deepfake creation without the person's consent? That's something we'll look at next.

Ethical considerations in deepfake creation

Alright then, let's get to the heart of the matter: is it ethical to use AI for deepfake creation? Like most things in life, it's not a simple yes or no answer. The ethics of deepfake creation hinge on the intent behind their use and the potential consequences.

Let's first consider the creation of deepfakes for entertainment or artistic purposes. You might have seen deepfake videos of celebrities doing hilarious things they've never actually done. These are generally seen as harmless fun, but is it really okay to use someone's likeness without their permission, even for a laugh?

Then there are deepfakes that might be used for educational purposes - imagine being able to create a lecture by Albert Einstein! That sounds cool, right? But again, we have to ask, is it ethical to use AI for deepfake creation when it involves people who aren't around to give their consent?

The biggest ethical concerns, though, come from the potential misuse of deepfakes. These can range from creating false evidence in legal cases to spreading misinformation or even manipulating elections. These cases clearly highlight the dark side of deepfakes and why we need to seriously consider the ethics of using AI for deepfake creation.

So, what's the takeaway here? Well, it's clear that the ethics of deepfake creation are complex and context-dependent. What's most important is that we're mindful of the potential harm deepfakes can cause and that we use this technology responsibly.

How to avoid misuse of deepfakes

So, we've established that the question "is it ethical to use AI for deepfake creation?" is quite complex. One thing is certain: misuse of deepfakes can lead to harmful consequences. So, how can we avoid this?

Firstly, you need to be clear about the purpose of your deepfake. Is it for entertainment, education, or something else? Remember, using someone's likeness without consent, especially for harmful purposes, is not ethical and could have legal consequences.

Secondly, transparency is key. If you're creating a deepfake video for social media, for example, let your audience know. This ensures they're aware of the nature of the content and can respond appropriately.

Thirdly, stay informed about the laws in your region regarding deepfakes. Some places have strict regulations to prevent the misuse of this technology, and you don't want to find yourself on the wrong side of the law.

Finally, develop a sense of digital literacy. This doesn't just apply to creators, but to everyone. Being able to identify a deepfake can help prevent the spread of misinformation.

So, while the creation of deepfakes can be a grey area, the misuse of them is a clear no-no. By being mindful, transparent, and responsible, we can navigate the ethical challenges of using AI for deepfake creation.

We've touched on the ethical side of things, but what about the law? What happens if you cross the line with AI and deepfake creation? The answer can be quite serious.

Depending on where you live, using someone's likeness without their consent can lead to legal trouble. This can take the form of defamation cases, right to privacy violations, or even criminal charges in some extreme situations.

Several countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, have implemented laws specifically targeting the misuse of deepfakes. These laws have been designed to protect individuals from harm and to maintain public trust in media.

For instance, the U.S. state of California passed a law in 2019 making it illegal to create deepfakes that aim to discredit a public figure or interfere with elections. Similar laws exist in the UK and other countries.

But what if you're just using deepfakes for fun, with no ill intent? Well, the law can still apply. Even if you're creating a harmless parody, you should always ensure that you have the necessary permissions to avoid any legal entanglements.

So, when asking "is it ethical to use AI for deepfake creation?", don't forget to also consider "is it legal?". Balancing creativity with responsibility can go a long way in keeping you on the right side of both the ethical and legal lines.

Why ethics matter in AI

Now that we've discussed the legal side of things, let's move towards the heart of the matter: why do ethics matter in AI? After all, aren't computers just machines that do what we tell them to do?

Well, yes and no. While it's true that computers don't have feelings or thoughts, the people who use them do. And when we use AI to create things like deepfakes, we're not just dealing with codes and algorithms. We're dealing with people's trust, their identities, their public image, and in some cases, their personal safety.

Just think about it – a well-made deepfake can put words in someone's mouth that they've never said, or make them appear in places they've never been. That's a pretty big deal, isn't it?

So, when we ask "is it ethical to use AI for deepfake creation?", we're really asking if it's fair to potentially harm others for the sake of our own enjoyment or gain. And most people would agree that it's not.

But it's not all doom and gloom. AI can also be a force for good. It can help us solve complex problems, make our lives easier, and bring joy and creativity into the world. The key is to use it responsibly, with respect for others and their rights.

To sum it up: ethics matter in AI because people matter. And as long as we remember that, we can create a future where technology serves us all, instead of the other way around.

How to promote ethical use of AI

Now that we've established why ethics are important in AI, let's discuss how we can promote ethical use of AI. It's one thing to understand that it's not ethical to use AI for deepfake creation without considering the consequences, but how do we put that understanding into practice?

Firstly, we need to ensure transparency. This means being open about how an AI system works, what it's used for, and who is using it. If you're creating a deepfake for harmless fun or for educational purposes, let people know. If it's for a commercial project, obtain proper permissions from the people being portrayed.

Secondly, we need to prioritize accountability. If an AI system does something wrong, there should be a human who is responsible. This discourages misuse and encourages careful oversight of AI systems.

Thirdly, we need to educate ourselves and others about AI. The more we understand about AI, the better we can use it ethically. This includes understanding the potential risks and benefits of AI, as well as the ethical guidelines for its use.

Lastly, we need to foster a culture of respect and empathy. This goes beyond just AI – it's about treating other people with kindness, respecting their rights, and considering the impact of our actions on others. After all, isn't that what being ethical is all about?

So, to answer the question "is it ethical to use AI for deepfake creation?" – it depends on how and why you're using it. But with transparency, accountability, education, and empathy, we can make sure that our use of AI is as ethical as possible.

If you're fascinated by the ethical considerations surrounding AI and deepfake creation, you might be interested in exploring the broader potential of AI in the arts. Check out Aunia Kahn's workshop, 'The Insane Potential of AI-Generated Art and Design.' This workshop will dive into the world of AI-generated art, helping you understand its capabilities and how to harness them responsibly and creatively.