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What are voice deepfakes and how are they used?

GS Paper 4

 Syllabus: Ethics/ Science and Technology


Source: TH

Context:  Recently several users of ElevenLabs (“speech synthesis” and “voice cloning” service provider) made voice deepfakes of celebrities like Emma Watson, Joe Rogan, and Ben Shapiro.

  • Those deepfake audios made racist, abusive, and violent comments without consent.




Ethical concerns related to the use of voice deepfakes:

  • Deception: Using false or misleading audio recordings
  • Privacy invasion: Making deepfake voices to impersonate others without their consent
  • Damage to reputation and credibility
  • Lack of regulation: Currently no law regulates it
  • Impact on public trust: It may lead to misinformation.
  • Discriminatory uses: It can be used to create fake recordings of marginalized communities, amplifying harmful stereotypes and perpetuating discrimination.


Other Concerns:

  • Cases of defrauding users:g. In 2020, a manager from a bank in the U.A.E., received a phone call from someone he believed was a company director to transfer $35 million.
  • Identity Theft: Morgan Neville’s documentary film on the well-known late chef Anthony Bourdain used voice-cloning software to make Bourdain say words he never spoke. This sparked criticism.
  • Phone scams
  • Posting fake videos on social media platforms: To blackmail the target


To know about what countries are doing and what should be the solution for deepfakes: Refer to our last month’s article on deepfakes


Insta Links:

Countering Deepfakes


Mains Links:

Q. Use of the internet and social media by non-state actors for subversive activities is a major security concern. How have these been misused in the recent past? Suggest effective guidelines to curb the above threat. (UPSC 2016)