In a recent report, the defence attorneys for Tesla in a civil case relating the fatal automobile incident that occurred in 2017 and included a Tesla driver named Walter Huang have alleged that Elon Musk’s statements made in 2016 promoting Autopilot technology may have been deepfaked. The corporation has argued that Musk should not be obliged to answer questions regarding the claims since there may be possible issues with the validity of the statements. The judge who is presiding over the case in California, on the other hand, is not yet persuaded.
Musk asserted, in front of an audience at a Vox Recode conference in 2016, that the issue of autonomous driving was essentially a problem that had been solved, and that the Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles were already capable of driving more safely than a human driver. The plaintiffs in the current action seek to question Elon Musk about these statements as well as others he has made promoting Tesla’s Autopilot technology.
The defence for Tesla suggests that public personalities like Musk are frequently the targets of deepfake videos and audio recordings, which supports their argument that such inquiry should not be permitted. In spite of this, Judge Evette Pennypacker of the Santa Clara Superior Court issued a tentative order ordering Musk to be examined under oath. A hearing has been scheduled to determine whether or not Musk will be required to face a deposition.
Because any recording has the potential to be disregarded as a deepfake, the deepfake defence has important consequences for holding public figures accountable for their statements. Because the deepfake defence allows individuals to dodge responsibility for their words, it has enormous ramifications for holding public figures accountable for their statements. Judge Pennypacker finds this reasoning to be “deeply troubling” and says that if such a position were accepted, it would give celebrities the ability to escape taking responsibility for their acts.
The litigation against Tesla is scheduled to get underway on July 31, and it is currently unclear what the verdict will be in Huang’s case. Nevertheless, despite of Tesla’s deepfake defence plan, Musk will most certainly be required to address questions concerning the comments he made regarding the Autopilot technology.