Friday Five: Deepfake concerns and “wave to pay”
Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…
1. Viral deepfake app causing genuine concern
Deepfake is one of those words that seems to have come from nowhere and is now everywhere. And now a Chinese app has brought deepfake AI technology to the masses, allowing users to swap their faces with film or TV characters to act out scenes from well-known movies in a matter of seconds.
Understandably, there is much concern about the potential of deepfakes to create bogus videos to manipulate elections, defraud banks or spread misinformation on a massive scale. But those concerns haven’t dented the app’s popularity with the Chinese public, who are loving the chance to see themselves aboard the Titanic (or casting Will Smith as Neo in The Matrix).
2. Deliveroo riding on England’s shoulders
Deliveroo has shown its appetite for growth by agreeing a high-profile multi-year sponsorship deal with the FA to sponsor all of England’s national teams. It won’t be appearing on the actual shirt — that remains sacrosanct — but it will be England’s first sleeve sponsor, appearing on the training kit of all the men’s and women’s teams.
The food delivery app landed $575m in capital funding last month, with plans to build its tech team and establish more delivery-only ‘dark kitchens’ as it looks to extend its service beyond cities. The FA partnership is the first major shot across the bows from chief marketing officer Inés Ures, who joined in January.
3. How smart is a phone ban at school?
Should schools ban the use of mobile phones in the classroom? It’s a polarising issue, with some headteachers and MPs believing phones shouldn’t be seen or heard within the school gates (most agree kids should be allowed to carry them so parents can contact them after school) and some believing children need to learn to self-regulate their phone use (so do a lot of adults, to be fair).
Now a poll has found that 49% of parents think their child’s school should ban mobiles, which makes it clear that schools are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Perhaps there’s some middle ground — one school introduced a voluntary ‘phone-free Friday’, which proved so popular that it has become school policy.
4. Twitter disables ability to tweet by text
Following the rather embarrassing hacking of its CEO Jack Dorsey, Twitter has temporarily suspended the ability to tweet via SMS. I didn’t know you could tweet via text message but apparently it used to be popular before the advent of apps (Twitter’s original 140-character limit was also inspired by SMS).
But after Dorsey was ‘hi-Jack-ed’, along with actress Chloë Moretz, Twitter has acted to stop cybercriminals carrying out SIM swapping attacks in order to intercept calls and text messages. Some users do still rely on SMS to send tweets, and Twitter has said it will first reactivate in these markets.
5. Amazon testing ‘wave to pay’ technology
First it was fingerprint technology, then iris scanning and facial recognition. Now Amazon apparently wants to take things a step further, by installing scanners at its physical stores that can use your hand as a form of identification. You won’t have to touch the scanner, merely wave your hand above the sensor.
The system is currently being trialled by Amazon employees in New York, and promises to be more secure than using PINs or passwords (not to mention speeding up queues at the checkout). However, when a data theft does occur, how do you go about changing your hand print?