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  /  Latest News   /  Detectives are Creating Deepfakes of Murder Victims! Helpful, but What About Ethics?

Detectives are Creating Deepfakes of Murder Victims! Helpful, but What About Ethics?

Cops are using deepfakes of murder victims in order to solve their mystery.

Detectives are doing something that appears to have never been attempted before: deepfaking a murder victim in a last-ditch effort to apprehend his assailant. The use of “deepfakes” technology by Dutch police in the unsolved crime cold case of Sedar Soares’ 2003 murder is the world’s first investigation using artificially manipulated footage.

Soares, then 13, was shot and killed in a Rotterdam parking garage over two decades ago, in what looks to be a classic case of someone being in the wrong place at the wrong time. His assailants were never apprehended. Police in Rotterdam have now released a video of the child walking on a soccer field surrounded by his friends and relatives, pleading with the public to come forward with any information they may have about the unsolved homicide.


Deeply Creepy

As with most deepfake videos, the movements of the reanimated boy are uncanny. In translated Dutch, a voiceover, apparently of or imitating one of Soares’ siblings, states, “Somebody must know who murdered my dear brother.” That is why he has been resurrected for this picture. After publishing the footage it has already received hundreds of suggestions, while she concedes that they haven’t yet examined if these leads are usable.


Ethics Check

Though deepfakes can be beneficial in some cases remember when memesters used the technology to inject Nicolas Cage into every movie? The ethical implications, in this case, are evident.

In a paper published in 2020, The potential benefits of deepfakes are outweighed by their potential dangers. Deepfakes are ultimately about deception. The idea is to create delusions that are impossible to differentiate from reality. It will be fantastic if this footage leads to the arrest of Soares’ killer but it is still a creepy thing for cops to do, and it also falls into an ethical grey area.

Deepfakes technology manipulates video and audio samples with artificial intelligence (AI) to make it appear as if someone has said or done something they haven’t. Sedar is shown walking around a football pitch with a ball under his arm, surrounded by relatives, friends, and former schoolteachers, in a digitally manipulated film revealed nearly 20 years after his death. 

Sedar addresses the camera at the end of the film and asks, do you have any other information? Then say something right now. Dutch police issued a call for new information on the criminal gang, claiming to have received a dozen tips. The use of ‘deepfakes is not just a lucky shot, we are convinced that it can touch hearts in the criminal environment. The video was produced in collaboration with the Sedar Soares family, and the police. It takes something big to track down the culprit, this is something big. Information is definitely going to come in. If this doesn’t get you the culprits, don’t know what will. It’s not going to bring Sedar back, but hopefully, it will bring answers.