Can you believe your eyes? How deepfakes are coming for politics

Mr Matteo Renzi, Italy's former prime minister and founder of the new Italia Viva party, sits in an opulent-looking office, face to the camera. An oil painting hangs to one side of him, on the other sits a Renaissance bust.

A technician checks his sound levels, and then Mr Renzi is off. He starts by gurning at an offscreen audience member, greeting them in a hoarse stage whisper. Then he turns on his fellow politicians. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Foreign Affairs Minister Luigi Di Maio, European Parliament MP Carlo Calenda - they all receive the same obscene arm gesture, punctuated with a little sneer.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2019, with the headline 'Can you believe your eyes? How deepfakes are coming for politics'. Print Edition | Subscribe