Hodder Studio has signed an investigative work on deepfakes by journalist and author Michael Grothaus, along with a six-part accompanying podcast.
Trust No One: Inside the World of Deepfakes explores the technology of deepfakes—where video evidence can be created of "just about anything"—through the people creating it, and those trying to prevent its ascent. Harriet Poland, editorial director at Hodder Studio, bought world rights direct from the author.
The synopsis reads: "In Trust No One, Grothaus goes down the rabbit hole as he investigates the internet communities destroying reality. Utilising his broad network, Grothaus shines a light on the deepfake creators themselves, and through that opens a window into the lives of incels, hackers and the underbelly of the internet. With a fearless and empathetic approach, this will be a narrative journey into dark heart of technology."
In the build-up to the release of the book, Hodder Studio will also release a six-part investigative podcast into one of the earliest and most devastating arenas of deepfake technology—pornography—speaking with both creators and victims of the practice in partnership with producer Philippa Geering.
Grothaus is also a journalist and novelist. His writing has appeared in the Guardian, Fast Company and VICE, and his debut novel, Epiphany Jones, a story about sex trafficking among the Hollywood elite, was longlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger Award.
He said of his new book "Deepfakes is a technology that will radically impact our ability to distinguish fact from fiction, truth from lies, and fantasy from reality in the years ahead. In other words: it's George Orwell's worst nightmare come to life. No longer does a party need to condition populations 'to reject all evidence of your eyes and ears.' They'll soon have the ability to show us events—current or historical—precisely as they want us to see them. And it's not just authoritarian nation-states which will wield this technology. Anyone will soon be able to create videos of anyone else doing virtually anything they want them to. Such technological power in the hands of everyone from cyberbullies to propagandists has the potential to threaten democratic, political, and social stability across the globe. We must understand the myriad challenges deepfakes pose if we are to have any hope of winning this upcoming battle for reality, which is why I'm so excited to explore the technology and the people behind it in this book."
Poland commented: "I hadn’t heard of deepfakes six months ago, and now I’m getting videos from friends where they’re the lead in 'Home Alone'. This technology is here, and it’s going to change our lives. Michael’s investigative writing is always brilliant—it’s challenging, empathetic and funny. I can’t wait to see who and what he uncovers in both these vital projects."