DESIRES DRIVING DEEPFAKES: WHERE TECHNOLOGY ENCOUNTERS DEATH
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In this thesis, I argue how the discourse around deepfakes is drenched with fantasies of limitless mastery of a subject upon serviceable objects. Employing postphenomenological optics, I access the technology and the fantasies around it through the published accounts of mediation (technical and non-technical publications on deepfake), discovering the ideological material in how the technology is discussed. I conduct a Foucauldian discourse analysis (FDA) to discover and describe the objects formed in the discourse through explicating or concealing aspects of deepfake use. In the course of an FDA, I locate fantasies that align with a utopian program of streamlined communication, limitless mastery, and control, along with dystopian fantasies of societies disrupted by the deceiving powers of technology. By employing the media-archaeological method of digging, I discover and examine the (dis)continuities in how political-economic configurations of deepfakes are tied in ideological material and trace this entanglement in the stabilities, marginalized and dominant, of deepfake. This thesis brings the deepfake instance to the academic debate about the fantasies and desires that drive technological development. I conclude that the ambiguous character of fantasies about deepfakes closes the span of (design) choices and that the dominant in the existing academic debate view of the deepfakes (as a new level of improving deceiving media) does not allow for discussing this technology as it is (pre)configured in terms of political economy. The inquiry contributes to changing the ideological material that constructs the meaning of deepfakes.