YouTuber turned TikTok sensation Hank Green has raised concerns about the future effects of deepfake technology after shining a light on a channel that imitates former NASA engineer Mark Rober & chemist Nile Red specifically.
Hank Green has had some serious longevity in the world of internet stardom. From propelling the vlogbrothers into the public eye with the Harry Potter-based tune “Accio Deathly Hallows” back in 2007 to hosting podcasts with Ryan Reynolds in 2022, the science communicator’s track record is unmatched in terms of variety.
Part of how Green has stayed in the limelight for so long is his thoughtful view on the world of online content creation, and as the cofounder of VidCon, he’s seen just about everything there is to offer.
That’s why the rest of the internet listens when he makes a point to highlight when something doesn’t sit right or develops into a worrying trend on a big platform.
Hank Green is ‘freaked out’ about deepfake channels on YouTube
The Complexly cofounder and Crash Course host started off the conversation by warning everyone else not to go into “attack mode” right away, hoping instead to have a nuanced discussion about why he believes that well-done deepfakes could be dangerous.
One of the first points he raised was about quality and believability, calling the videos “pretty well done” but not entirely convincing. “They aren’t mean spirited, but they do have the “characters” say things those guys would never say.”
Even if they’re not a perfect interpretation, Green went on to say the potential ramifications of this content becoming more popular is a scary thought.
“Even if one video is fine, you never know what you’re going to see yourself do in the next one. Imagine being totally out of control of something that is, in a pretty real way, /you/,” he explained.
He also made the point that while Rober & NileRed haven’t publicly raised issue with their likeness being used, other creators deserve to have that option in the future. “As far as I know, Mark and Nigel are the first creators who have had successful, monetized deepfake content of them uploaded onto YouTube. They’ve been pretty chill about it, but I honestly don’t think I would be.”
While it will likely be up to individual platforms to police what kinds of content are allowed to be uploaded, the vlogbrother’s remarks do highlight an interesting challenge that sites like YouTube will face in the coming years.