In an unsettling progression of events that has seen sports figures digitally impersonated, Virat Kohli, the renowned Indian cricketer, has become the latest victim of a deepfake controversy. A deceptive video has been making rounds on various social media platforms, featuring Kohli seemingly endorsing an online betting application. The footage utilizes a blend of AI-manipulated voice cloning and visual alterations, combining them with snippets taken from an earlier interview of the distinguished sportsman.

Social media users have witnessed the deepfake video wherein Kohli appears to be endorsing an online betting app. He is falsely presented claiming to have won a substantial amount of money, Rs 81000, from an initial wager of Rs 1000. The fabricated narrative is supported by his AI-generated voice and strategically edited clips from an interview, misleading viewers into believing the content’s authenticity. Users across the digital sphere have swiftly reacted, with many taking to warning their followers and urging them to exercise caution in the face of such deceptive tactics.

This incident comes shortly after another cricketing legend, Sachin Tendulkar, was subjected to a similar misrepresentation through deepfake technology. A concocted video of Tendulkar had circulated online, where he was shown purportedly promoting a betting service while recounting his daughter Sara’s ostensible success at earning significant sums via betting. Tendulkar, adamant to clarify the falsehood and the potential dangers posed by such technology, had taken to social media platforms to denounce the video and called for collective vigilance and reporting.

“These videos are fake,” Sachin had stated, expressing the troubling implications of misused deepfake technology. “It is disturbing to see rampant misuse of technology. Request everyone to report videos, ads & apps like these in large numbers. Social Media platforms need to be alert and responsive to complaints. Swift action from their end is crucial to stopping the spread of misinformation and deepfakes.” His articulation of the problem underscored a growing concern surrounding the spread of misinformation and the ethical concerns associated with AI’s capabilities.

As the fraudulent video garnered attention, it’s important to note that Virat Kohli was not involved with the Indian cricket team’s current endeavors, as he had taken a leave of absence from the series against England due to personal reasons. After a hiatus, Kohli last appeared for the national side in T20 Internationals against Afghanistan. Notably, his absence was substantiated by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), who asserted their full support and respect for Mr. Kohli’s personal decision.

“Virat Kohli will remain unavailable for selection for the remainder of the series due to personal reasons. The Board fully respects and supports Mr. Kohli’s decision,” BCCI had articulated when announcing the squad for the three further Test matches.

In the modern world, where technology has become an intrinsic part of daily life, such incidents of digital forgery have sparked intense discussions regarding the responsible use of artificial intelligence and its potential misapplication. The realm of sports, which once seemed immune to such technological malfeasance, is now navigating this new reality wherein the integrity of an athlete’s image can be compromised virtually overnight.

The viral spread of these deepfakes featuring Tendulkar and Kohli has shown that the convergence of technology and disinformation poses significant challenges, not only to individuals but to the community at large. The unchecked propagation of such forged materials could have far-reaching repercussions on public perception and the trust placed in digital content. As a consequence, it is incumbent upon social media platforms, regulatory bodies, and technology developers to implement robust measures that can efficiently detect and mitigate instances of deepfake abuse, ensuring a secure and truthful digital environment for all.

By IPL Agent

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