The tedious spat between the Labour party and the Conservatives over the Rishi Sunak ‘rolled eyes and poor pint’ deepfake did not surprise in the sense that it’s a conventional political exchange with all the value of two bald men fighting over a comb.
Neither were we taken aback by the epic hypocrisy from the Conservatives accusing the Labour party of misrepresentation (perhaps, on second thoughts, the Conservatives have a patent?) and the Labour party response of ‘Well, you started it.’ There did appear, however, to be a glimmer of hope for those of us who are tired of political pub brawls and think that what we need is a hefty bouncer to chuck them all out.
Darren Jones, the Labour chair of the Business and Trade committee suggested that Michele Donelan’s Science department should ’tackle deepfake photos, especially in advance of the next election.’ That’s like asking the fox to look at the hen coop defenses, but it’s nevertheless a hugely novel thought from a political party in this context in as much as it’s suggesting that something is done about the problem. We think the Labour party might be on to something here and rather than prodding the oppo in the chest and inviting them outside they could even go so far as to propose a solution in their manifesto. Revolutionary, we realise.
No government department can fix deepfakes. What they can fix is regulation that will have the effect of limiting and sanctioning their use, along with all the other misrepresentations, obfuscations, misleading omissions and downright lies that litter the political communications landscape, currently unregulated in electoral advertising.
So politicians might like to think about the idea of a quiet drink together to settle the issue, rather than the usual fight in the pub car park. And the issue will be settled when they’ve agreed a simple code of conduct managed by the ASA ‘bouncer’, among others.
Let’s face it, we’ve all had enough. Hic.