Proper Collision Repairs: Weeding Through the Fakery
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Proper Collision Repairs: Weeding Through the Fakery

With so much fakery out there — fake news, deepfakes, fake profiles — is our filter getting better at determining what is real and what isn’t?

Jason Stahl has 28 years of experience as an editor, and has been editor of BodyShop Business for the past 16 years. He currently is a gold pin member of the Collision Industry Conference. Jason, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from John Carroll University and started his career in journalism at a weekly newspaper, doing everything from delivering newspapers to selling advertising space to writing articles.

Are we getting better today at determining what is real and what isn’t due to all the fakery out there? That thought crossed my mind the other day as I received yet another:

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  1. Email from a coworker who really wasn’t my coworker
  2. Email telling me there was an estate (cash deposit and some real estate) belonging to the late Albert Stahl that someone wanted to discuss with me
  3. Online profile of someone impossibly beautiful who wanted to meet me

The old adage, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is,” still holds true today.

Have you heard about deepfakes yet? A deepfake is a fake, digitally manipulated video or audio file produced by using deep learning, an advanced type of machine learning, and typically featuring a person’s likeness and voice in a situation that did not actually occur. The videos of Mark Zuckerberg bragging about having “total control of billions of people’s stolen data” and Barack Obama calling Donald Trump an unmentionable expletive? Those were deepfakes.

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With so much fakery out there — fake news, deepfakes, fake profiles — is our filter getting better at determining what is real and what isn’t? I know mine is. You can’t help but get better at determining fact from fiction when you’re bombarded with fakery every day. I can tell a Photoshopped photo from a mile away. Even still, we sometimes fall for it.

Mitch Becker mentioned this in his recent article, “Scanning & Calibration: What’s the Confusion?” Where do we get our information today? YouTube, Twitter, Facebook? What source do you trust? We’ve all become jaded because of the abundance of fake news, clickbait, and headlines and stories manipulated to elicit fear or anger — the two main drivers of eyeballs online — from us. Information is being shot at you from every direction, from the New York Times all the way down to the “journalists” living in their parents’ basements. Chances are if the headline has the word “outraged” in it, only a few people are actually outraged while the rest of the world doesn’t give a hoot about whatever issue it is they’re talking about.

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It’s probably not a smart idea to earn a degree from the “University of YouTube” where some renegade technicians are fixing cars their own way. Not to downplay YouTube entirely — there are plenty of high-quality videos from legitimate sources, like some of the vendors you buy products from.

As we’ve been repeating for years, one source you can trust is the automakers, whose guidelines you should be following, both from a quality repair and liability standpoint. After all, who knows the vehicle better than the people who engineered it?

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