As can be seen, this is not an easy question to answer. There are a lot of pros and cons, and the potential for harm is high in either case. During the course of writing this article, I have had many conversations. One thing that has surprised me is the number of open-source absolutists. An argument I have oft heard repeated is that deepfakes are here and there is no putting the genie back in the bottle. In the opinion of many, including myself, we will reach a time in which deepfakes are indistinguishable from reality. If by that time we are not all aware enough to be questioning them we may be in great trouble as bad actors operate without detection. This is a point I think recent calls for pauses in AI development overlook. Yet, while open sourcing may reduce this long-term harm, it opens the door for short-term harm by those that may want to abuse deepfakes, but do not have the technical skills.
While I remain undecided on the issue of open sourcing, I feel more confident than ever that this discussion needs to be had, and that at the least deepfake research needs to be done in the open and communicated to the public. I strongly encourage everyone to have a say. If you have an opinion that I haven’t covered here or any questions, please either leave a comment or contact me directly, I really do want to hear from as many people as possible.