Paulina Zybinska

Creative Technologist &
Interaction Designer 

Based in Zürich.


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Research on Deepfakes, collective memory and reality synthesis

The understanding of the world is as much informed through comparative data as it is through our memory. Within the digital landscape that proliferates with imagery, media converted itself into producers influencing and creating the representation of our world. The exposure to misinformation pose a great risk to our trust in access to knowledge, exposing how much our trust have been mediated through illusion of technological democratization. New applications coming from the recent research on AI and machine learning allowed for  intricate means of manipulation of imagery. It’s not hard to imagine the flood of tailored information, adjusted to individuals. This won’t only apply to news, but to anything people openly share online. In possession of personal data shared through Facebook, Google Analytics, Amazon Data Exchange etc., media will be able to redesign, enhance and exploit our memories and make us more susceptible to marketing, advertisement and propaganda.

Beyond the outside environmental and cultural factors , memories are the most integral part of our consciousness. Learning from the past experiences, we create a present version of our personality. There is however a dark end to it; suggestive information, misinformation, ideas or thoughts can cause a contamination or alteration of memory, this might lead to formation of false memories, which in turn influence our conscious awareness. As long as it happens on an individual level, the harm is not visible, but the moment false memories spread amongst whole communities, the alteration of facts becomes a global problem.

The worldwide implementation of self-learning algorithms will undoubtedly lead towards a society, whose knowledge and access to information is predefined by the classification and collection of data. As these processes improve with every iteration, we’ll witness an aggravated influence of neural networks in shaping the world view. The true danger lies however in the more subtle mechanisms, ML has the power to pass by our defences and control us without leaving any tracks. It will not only enhance reality, but also distort and manipulate it to fit its own judgment. Knowing that this technology by far surpasses the current media manipulation techniques, such as photo editing,  fake news, etc., it’s not hard to depict that our minds will be jeopardised by visual alterations of our past.


Project Lead: Paulina Zybinska
Machine Learning: Alessia Paccagnella
Support: Florian Bruggiser
Sound: Suntka Rinke
Acting: Alexandra Kienitz

Dr. Severin Klingler (Media Technology Center)
Simone Schaub-Meyer  (Media Technology Center)
Dr. Jeanine Reutemann (UZH)
Dr. Claudia Roswandowitz (ETH)

The project is supported by:
ZHdK Designforschung