The term “synthetic media” describes videos, photos, written text, audio recordings or other digital assets that have been either generated or manipulated by
But until a few years ago, most people had no idea that “synthetic media” even existed. The notion that some real-looking or real-sounding information (in other
words, “facts”) could be created from scratch seemed totally far-fetched. Yet, as we know today, increasingly sophisticated media technologies are being used to assist the creation of very
real-looking, real-sounding “facts”, making it more and more difficult to tell the difference between those creations and what we’ve always considered to be the “truth”.
However, as we highlight at #mthcon22, Synthetic Media is much more than just “fake news”. Although it relies on new technologies such as CGI
de-aging, it also depends on the viewers’ and listeners’ instinctive desire – need, even – to believe what they’re seeing or hearing. In fact, experts say our brains are hard-wired to believe
that what we see and hear is true or real. This means that it’s vital for us all to be able to tell the difference between real and synthetic media. At #mthcon22, in our
Confounding Synthetic Media track, we take a look at what synthetic media is, how it is created and how to identify it when you see it. This promises to be a major upskill for
everyone’s media savvy!
Henry Ajder is one of the leading experts in synthetic media and is our visionary keynote
speaker for our opening track on Stage 1, Confounding Synthetic Content. Henry is an advisor,
broadcaster and researcher in the field of synthetic media and deepfakes. His knowledge and expertise of the phenomena and their impact on society is regularly drawn upon by governments,
companies and NGOs to help design strategies for combating threats and recognizing the opportunities that these disruptive technologies present. Formerly head of research at the world’s first
deepfake detection company, Sensity, Henry talks about aspects of synthetic media such as its ability to disseminate disinformation.
In a fascinating series on BBC Radio 4 entitled “The Future will be Synthesized”, Henry examines the legal, political and ethical implications of synthetic media
from the shady beginnings of deepfakes in the pornography industry to the use of the same technologies in communications and relationships, including the “recreation” of a deceased loved one and
how this can help families deal with their loss. Henry’s talk promises to be fascinating - don’t miss it!
The first thing that comes across from Asher Jay is that she is bubbling with energy and
talks ninety miles a minute. Then you realize just how far-seeing and intelligent her vision of our future planet is. As mercurial as she is multitalented, Asher is a self-styled “wild child and
misfit”, although her unique combination of creative talent and technological savvy coupled with an off-the-chart intellect and ability to communicate is fast becoming both sought-after and a
valued tool in the workbox of such organisations as the United Nations. Her quirky sense of humour is contrasted by the seriousness of her mission: to urge by any means possible – technical,
artistic, creative or just plain badgering – her fellow earth inhabitants to take agency in co-creating a liveable planet for wildlife and, by extension, for us all.
At #mthcon22, in addition to her keynote on
Day 1 for the track “Blockchain, NFTs & DAOs: Business, Art or Hype?”, Asher will be giving a workshop on Day 2 of the conference. Entitled “Co-creating Henoscene: a distributive, decentralized, democratic era rooted in unity”, participants will discover how they
can have a meaningful role in the transition from the Anthropocene (The Age of Man) to the Henoscene – the Age of Unity. Hold on to your seats, everyone – Asher is in the house!