Faketual Reality

Concept/Design/Development: Paulina Zybinska
Machine Learning: Alessia Paccagnella
Acting: Alexandra Kienitz
Setup Assistance: Jelle van Meerendonk
Audio: Paulina Zybinska
Music: Suntka Rienke
Project Supervisors: Dr. Björn Franke, Max Rheiner, Florian

Collaboration Partners: Zurich Academy of Arts, Media
Technology Center ETH

Special Thanks: Dr. Severin Klinger, Dr. Simone Schaub-Meyer,
Dr. Jeanine Reutemann, Dr. Claudia Roswandowitz

The synthetiation of “Faketual Reality” driven by
fabricated stories has the capacity to overpower human
defences and control perceptions without leaving any
tracks. Such mediation can now be achieved through
creation of Deepfakes - digital representations produced
by sophisticated machine learning methods, that yield
fabricated images and voices that appear to be very real.
As a consequence, synthetic media contribute to anxieties
about machine intelligence; it has the capacity to
control, propagate disinformation, and potentially
facilitate a total refuge into AI-generated delusional
worlds. A sufficiently paranoid totalitarian regime or
society could engage in a complete abolishment of history
using all kinds of synthetic technologies, aiding a
complete reconstruction of history and identities as well
as any signs of their existence. Even in otherwise liberal
countries, synthetic bubbles may be used by some social or
political organisations to significantly limit or even
entirely eliminate the capacity of the population to agree
on fundamental factual evidence.

Built upon the architecture of human brain, the neural based
 nature of Machine Learning offers intricate manner of
algorithmic perpetuation of manipulating users’ moral
and political attitudes. The usage of synthetic media
becomes more prevalent in moderating digital environments
where users interact only with content tailored to their
biases and judgments. The over-abundance of information
and a growing fear of the instability of modern world is
nowadays driven not by the common facts, but rather by
emotions and feelings. This manifests itself in the form
of fabricated stories - a cascade of misinformation which
amplifies and transmits human’s online stance onto a
physical world. Consequently, the media does not only
shape present attitudes, but also have the capacity to
influence past memories by exploiting fundamental flaws of
human memory such as bias, suggestibility and transience.
Furthermore, the very presence of synthetic media can be
misused to refute objective news reports and science
evidence as potentially fake.