Bill Gates speaking outside

Frederic Legrand – COMEO/Shutterstock (Licensed)

Don’t fall for this Bill Gates deepfake

The video was actually produced with AI.

 

Mikael Thalen

Tech

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Analysis

Footage of an interview circulating across social media purports to show billionaire Bill Gates defending himself against criticisms of his career in technology as well as his promotion of vaccines. Despite being seen by some conspiracy theorists as real, the video was actually produced with AI.

The video went viral on social media platforms such as Instagram and shows Gates being accused by a female interviewer of  stealing the idea for the Windows operating system before the conversation eventually shifts to COVID-19.

“You have been a major spokesperson for COVID vaccines during the pandemic,” the interviewer says. “What exactly makes you—a computer engineer who didn’t even program his initial product himself—a valid representative of the pharmaceutical industry?”

Gates responds by noting that he has “read a lot of books” and “met with specialists from the field all over the world.”

The interviewer then goes on to compare computer operating systems and the COVID-19 vaccine, arguing that Gates has promoted products with significant bugs that have caused serious harm.

The post on Instagram, as noted by USA TODAY, was eventually flagged for being misleading. The uploader of the clip responded with dismay.

“Of course they hit me with a violation,” they wrote.

Although a few appeared to fall for the clip, others were quick to note that something seemed off. The clip, in fact, uses real footage of an interview Gates gave on Australian TV in January but relies on AI to alter their speech.

The original footage, which was uploaded to YouTube by ABC News Australia, shows that no such comments were ever actually made by Gates or the interviewer.

Gates has long been the target of conspiracy theorists. While scrutiny of Gates is warranted given his wealth and influence, much of the claims surrounding the billionaire involve elaborate depopulation schemes and other outlandish narratives.

Why it matters

The altered clip of Gates shows how AI voice generation and deepfake technology is becoming more accessible. Now, anyone with a phone or computer can quickly generate altered content.

Luckily, AI voice cloning technology is in its infancy and is easily spotted by most users online. But as the technology progresses, more and more people will undoubtedly be fooled.

 
The Daily Dot