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Deepfake: Unearthing the Status Quo

Prologue It’s two o’clock in the morning and you wake up to your phone ringing. You, torn from sleep, reach out and pick up. Your boss is on the other end. He is currently somewhere across the globe and must have forgotten that time differences exist. His voice is filled with a subtle amount of panic and you, still dizzy, understand only half of his words. He demands that you get him some important client information before his next meeting, which is starting in two minutes. He says that he forgot his work laptop in his hotel room and you should send the information to his personal email instead. Would you, half asleep, send the files to him or would you question the legitimacy of the call? Most of us would probably execute such requests, not thinking about the call being faked. The bad news is that the technology for such deception exists and such scenes will probably only get more common in the near future.

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Theft-as-a-Service on Ethereum

Predatory trading is a growing threat in both traditional and cryptocurrency exchanges. Some aspects of these behaviors have been popularized in the news, such as in the recent downfall of FTX and its CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. These however, only tell part of the story of fraud and theft that regularly occur within the most popular cryptocurrencies. Under less public scrutiny has been the unethical monetary extraction, which is occurring trade-by-trade in cryptocurrencies, and the ad-hoc solutions designed to ameliorate their negative consequences. One such solution, the Flashbots project was created to address the negative externalities associated with some types of predatory trading in cryptocurrency exchanges, specifically, frontrunning on Ethereum. With a market cap of nearly 150 billion USD, Ethereum is the second-most valuable cryptocurrency in the world. In Q3 2022, Ethereum saw over 16 million active users. Anyone can make an account in Ethereum for free using a well-known procedure not much more complicated than generating a public key pair.

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A Discrete Affair

How much do you need to know about a person to fall in love with them? Do you need to see their face or touch their body to form a strong emotional bond? Or can you fall in love with someone over the telephone? A new reality show called “Love Is Blind” explores this question, having contestants exclusively talk to each other through an opaque wall and then decide whether to get married or not. Real emotions are at play as contestants fall in love with disembodied voices upon which they project all the qualities they cannot observe. Sometimes disappointments follow, such as when deep conversations are replaced with a mundane reality. The recently released Netflix documentary The Tinder Swindler explores similar themes. It details the exploits of Simon Leviev, a man of unexceptional looks, flashy clothes, and an expensive taste that left his victims with a broken heart and neck-deep in debt.

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