A month ago, consulting company Accenture presented a potential client with an unusual and attention-grabbing pitch for a new project. Instead of a typical slide deck the client saw Deep Fax A number of real employees stand on a virtual stage, presenting a perfectly delivered description of the project they hoped to work on.

“I wanted them to meet our team,” says Renato Scaff, a senior managing director at Accenture who came up with the idea. “It’s also a way for us to differentiate ourselves from the competition.”

The deepfakes — with employee consent — were produced by Touchcast, a company Accenture has invested in that offers a platform for interactive presentations featuring avatars of real or artificial people. TouchCast avatars can answer typed or spoken questions using AI models that analyze relevant information and generate answers on the fly.

“There’s an element of creepiness,” Skoff says of his Deepfake employees. “But there’s a big element of cool.”

Deep faxes are a powerful and dangerous tool for disinformation and reputational damage. But the same technology is being embraced by companies who see it as a smart and engaging new way to reach and interact with consumers.

These experiences are not limited to the corporate sector. Monica Ares, executive director of the Innovation, Digital Education, and Analytics Lab at London’s Imperial College Business School, has made deep impressions of real professors that she hopes will lead to a more engaging and engaging way of answering students’ questions and queries. Can be an effective method. classroom. Aris says the technology has the potential to increase personalization, provide new ways to organize and assess students, and increase student engagement. “You still have like a human being talking to you, so it feels very natural,” she says.

As is often the case these days, we have AI to thank for unlocking this reality. It has long been possible for Hollywood studios to copy actors’ voices, faces and behaviors through software, but in recent years AI has made similar technology widely accessible and virtually free. Is. In addition to Touchcast, companies including Synthesis And Hey General Offers businesses a way to create avatars of real or fake people for presentations, marketing and customer service.

Touchcast founder and CEO Edo Segal believes that digital avatars can be a new way to present and interact with content. His company has developed a software platform called Genything that will allow anyone to create their own digital twin.

At the same time, deepfakes are becoming a major concern at election time in many countries, including the United States. last month, AI generated robocalls The fake Joe Biden profile was used to spread election misinformation. Taylor Swift recently became one too. The target of deepfake porn Produced using widely available AI image tools.

“Deepfake images are certainly something we find disturbing and alarming,” Ben Buchanan, White House special adviser on AI, told Wired in a recent interview. Swift’s deepfake is “an important data point in a broader trend that disproportionately affects women and girls, who are disproportionately targeted for online harassment and abuse,” he said. said

A new one USAI Safety InstituteCreated under a White House executive order issued last October, it is currently developing standards for watermarking AI-generated media. Meta, Google, Microsoft, and other tech companies are also making progress. Technology designed to detect AI forgeries In which the AI ​​arms race is becoming more and more intense.

Some of the political uses of deepfake, however, highlight the dual potential of the technology.

Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan Addressed the rally. to his party followers last Saturday despite being behind bars. The former cricket star, who has been jailed for what his party described as a military coup, delivered his speech using deepfake software that sat behind a desk and uttered words that he never said

As AI-powered video manipulation improves and becomes easier to use, business and consumer interest in legitimate uses of the technology is likely to increase. Recently Chinese tech company Baidu Developed a method To create deep faxes to send Lunar New Year greetings to your chatbot app users.

Even for early adopters, the possibility of misuse is not entirely out of mind. “There’s no question that security needs to be a top priority,” says Accenture’s Scaff. “Once you have artificial twins, you can tell them to do anything.”