67 – Rini on Deepfakes and the Epistemic Backstop


In this episode I talk to Dr Regina Rini. Dr Rini currently teaches in the Philosophy Department at York University, Toronto where she holds the Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Moral and Social Cognition. She has a PhD from NYU and before coming to York in 2017 was an Assistant Professor / Faculty Fellow at the NYU Center for Bioethics, a postdoctoral research fellow in philosophy at Oxford University and a junior research fellow of Jesus College Oxford. We talk about the political and epistemological consequences of deepfakes. This is a fascinating and timely conversation.

You can download this episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and a variety of other podcasting services (the RSS feed here).

Show Notes

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 3:20 – What are deepfakes?
  • 7:35 – What is the academic justification for creating deepfakes (if any)?
  • 11:35 – The different uses of deepfakes: Porn versus Politics
  • 16:00 – The epistemic backstop and the role of audiovisual recordings
  • 22:50 – Two ways that recordings regulate our testimonial practices
  • 26:00 – But recordings aren’t a window onto the truth, are they?
  • 34:34 – Is the Golden Age of recordings over?
  • 39:36 – Will the rise of deepfakes lead to the rise of epistemic elites?
  • 44:32 – How will deepfakes fuel political partisanship?
  • 50:28 – Deepfakes and the end of public reason
  • 54:15 – Is there something particularly disruptive about deepfakes?
  • 58:25 – What can be done to address the problem?


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