Morbid Political Ad Features Dead Parkland Student 'Brought Back to Life'

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Posted: Oct 02, 2020 5:50 PM
Morbid Political Ad Features Dead Parkland Student 'Brought Back to Life'

Source: Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP

In Feb. 2018, Joaquin Oliver was shot and killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. But thanks to deepfake technology, Joaquin is now encouraging voters to elect anti-gun candidates, i.e. Democrats, in a new political ad. 

Deepfake technology uses synthetic media to replace a person in an existing image or video with the likeness of somebody else. The possibilities are endless: Aborted babies decrying the horrors of abortion; Murdered grandmas denouncing Gov. Cuomo's nursing home policy; Kate Steinle speaking out against sanctuary cities. ... the list goes on and on. 

But there's something repulsive about politicizing the words of dead people even when it's the dead person's own parents doing it. 

Oliver's parents, Manuel and Patricia, founded Change the Ref, an activist organization pushing for gun control legislation. In partnership with McCann Health, Change the Ref made a political ad using deepfake technology to depict the deceased Oliver in a political ad in which Oliver encourages voters to elect anti-gun politicians. 

"Yo, It's me. It's Guac," Oliver says in the ad. "I've been gone for two years and nothing's changed, bro. People are still getting killed by guns. What is that? Everyone knows it, but they don't do anything. I'm tired of waiting for someone to fix it. The election in November is the first one I could have voted in, but I’ll never get to choose the kind of world I wanted to live in, so you've got to replace my vote."

Oliver then encourages people to vote for his preferred candidates since Oliver can no longer vote himself. 

"Vote for me, because I can’t," Oliver says. "We’ve got to keep on fighting and we’ve got to end this."