Video and photographs have been a key part of reporting for many years. Ever since the first photographs in a newspaper back in 1880, visual images have helped tell stories. But recently the stories people can present through video and photos has been scarily vivid. Amateur videographers and photographers can now doctor clips and images, adding in details and words and gestures, that look eerily real. These “deepfakes” were originally quite easy to spot, but now with improved and more publicly accessibly technology, these videos are becoming especially vivid. And many are worried that the prevalence of believable, false videos will lead to viewers distrusting anything they see regardless of the claims of the presenter. As they get numbed to the truth by vivid mimicry, people may eventually give up any effort to discover the truth. They are so difficult to spot now that digital companies such as Serelay and Truepic are actually introducing programs that can tag images and videos based on their location relative to cell phone towers in order to discover their genuineness (Summerville). When it comes to the internet, the discerning the difference between genuine and fake is becoming a tricky process.
Genuineness is also a key issue that Bible prophecy deals with. In Matthew 24, Jesus especially emphasizes the danger of following “false christs” at the end of time (Matthew 24:23-28). In 2 Timothy 4:3-4, Paul also instructs his young protégé Timothy by saying, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” Deception can have dire consequences, but deception doesn’t have to catch us unawares. Paul gives us the instruction we need for following truth in the very next verse: “But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:5). He also gives us the antidote to deception in the following lesson for Timothy: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) Deep, focused Bible study is the answer to deceptive influences and even though staying clear falsehood isn’t always easy, knowing the truth is more than worth it. Buying into falsehoods brings fear, distrust, frustration, and danger, while freedom comes from cherishing the truth.
Summerville, Abigail. 'Deepfakes' Trigger and Race to Fight Manipulated Photo and Video. Wall Street Journal Online. 27 July 2019. 19 August 2019. https://www.wsj.com/articles/deepfakes-trigger-a-race-to-fight-manipulated-photos-and-videos-11564225200