Fixing the Truth

Has it really been 6 months since I wrote a blog post? Yikes. Well, at least there’s a good reason. When I started this blog as a newly minted PhD way back in late 2013, I was thoroughly unemployed and I had plenty of time to blog. Now that I’ve landed a new gig as NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at ASU’s totally awesome Center for Biology and Society, I find that, alas, there’s precious little time to dawdle on the internet. Even so, I was stirred to comment by two stories that caught my eye last week. First, there was an article in the NY Times about a meeting between the current US Secretary of State and Afghan officials. Afterwards, the two nations released their own photographs of the event, but the photos didn’t match up. It’s clear to even the untrained eye that one (or both) of the images had been photoshopped. The edits were obvious this time, but that’s not always the case. Given this fact, it seems fair to ask: How do we distinguish reality in the future? And it’s not just photographs, by the way. As this recent article from Wired explains, the creative (and potentially nefarious) use of face-tracking technology allows anyone with a little bit of digital know-how to insert any words into anyone’s mouth. Don’t believe me? Check out these creepy videos here and here, which show how easy it is to fake a speech from the US President. Once again, how are we supposed to safeguard reality? Deep thoughts. And now that I’ve totally bummed you out, the least I can do is remind you what happens when people try to photoshop paintings in real life. To revisit the tragicomic details of “the worst restoration project of all time,” click on the overhead banner. Until next time…