UFO sightings, conspiracy theories and the dangers of CGI have not died down since coming to fame in the mid-20th century. Plenty of folks still share UFO stories and swear by their close encounters, despite Project Blue Book being closed in 1969. However, there is a startling new technology that creates a divide between believers and those who mock the science of UFO investigation, as hoaxes become an even greater threat than ever before.

UFO investigators anxiously await the Pentagon’s report on sightings and look forward to the possible closure the new information can offer. The sightings of Unidentifiable Aerial Phenomena over military bases have startled Senators and military personnel alike, as it could spell unexplainable threats to national security. Senator Marco Rubio is one of the more vocal Senators on the subject, and he has pleaded for the government to take this seriously for a long time. While he has speculated in an interview that the report will arrive later than the June 1st deadline, the eventual release of information will spark a large conversation. The bigger conversation, however, is whether or not these UFO sightings should be believed going forward, as technological advancements might be able to spread lies and hoaxes like wildfire. 

In 2013, Wired reported on a prank created by filmmaker Aristomenis “Meni” Tsirbas, which featured an elaborate video highlighting a UFO. The filmmaker revealed that UFO was in fact fake, and was indiscernible for real-life video recording. Tsirbas utilized a computer-generated UFO clip to produce photorealistic visuals that sent the internet into a frenzy.

This is not the first time CGI has formed enormous problems. Just recently, a cheer mom released videos to a cheer coach that revealed her daughter’s cheer teammates performing despicable behavior, in an attempt to get them kicked off the team. The video featured nudity, drinking, and smoking, each centering around a different member of the team. The thing is: it was all fake. The mother used what is called ‘deepfake’ technology and artificial intelligence to doctor images and videos, which make them nearly identical to real life. This technology breathes new life into the hoax business and could mean huge problems for real investigations into UFOs. 

There are plenty of UFO sightings that are explained with further evidence or shut down by the government in an attempt to hide the truth (whether it is aliens or other threats to national security such as foreign countries). However, there are still plenty of compelling UFO sightings that have been left unexplained, and if investigators ever want to get to the truth, new sightings and further evidence will be necessary. The issue is, if all new evidence can be doctored and hoaxes can be quickly and effectively manufactured by ‘deepfake’ technology or CGI, there may never be a way for investigations to distinguish truth from falsehoods. 

CGI is excellent when creating blockbuster hits, but it is less desirable when it comes to spreading hoaxes. While pranks can be funny, the detriment they have on the community that investigates UFOs is tremendous. Those who might be inclined to report sightings or spread valuable video and photo evidence might second-guess themselves, afraid that they will be called out a liar. Not only can CGI technology manufacture lies, but it can also undermine the truth- making it even harder to get to the bottom of one of the Universe’s greatest mysteries.

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