Just imagine the October Surprise potential: The candidate caught cavorting with prostitutes, spewing racial epithets, outlining a plan to round up Lutherans for secret medical experiments! Even the most brazen political campaign might fear the damage of such a forgery being traced back to its own doorstep — but when the software to pull it off is available to anyone with a broadband connection, they likely won’t have to.

In an ecosystem flooded with forged amateur videos, of course, many viewers will naturally become more skeptical about the idea that “seeing is believing.” But that, too, has a cost: Recall Donald Trump’s strange, belated efforts to raise doubts among his associates about the veracity of the infamous Access Hollywood “grab ‘em by the pussy” tape.

In a world of fake video, such a denial might well have seemed plausible, at least to those who wished to believe. A sufficiently shameless politician might deny even actions caught on tape, with supporters given license to trust their preconceptions over their eyes.