The rise of deepfakes has stoked the old fear that our lives can be hijacked by demonic doubles. Laurence Scott shares his favourite books on convincing imposters
The rise of deepfake technology provokes a modern version of a deep-seated fear that our lives can be hijacked by doppelgangers and doubles. While this concern may seem particularly acute today with videos purporting to show Donald Trump phoning Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg coldly laying out the extent of his power the idea of the malign twin dates back to ancient times.
During the 19th century the growth of crowded cities stoked anxieties about ones individuality. In these new urban masses, the thinking went, surely there must reside another face just like our own. Fyodor Dostoevsky captured this fear in his novel The Double, about a St Petersburg bureaucrat whose life is gravely unsettled when his doppelganger comes to work in the same office. In Richard Ayoades 2013 film adaptation, Jesse Eisenberg (who, fittingly, played Zuckerberg in the Facebook biopic The Social Network) cries that his demonic double stole my face.