Tech News: Rise of Fake Synthetic Media Could Threaten Liberal Democracy | World | New

Deep fakes: the technology behind artificial intelligence

The warning comes from political commentator Nina Schick, author of ‘Deepfakes: The Coming Infocalypse’. Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are enabling more and more people to produce realistic-looking synthetic or computer-generated videos, including events that never happened.

When used for sinister purposes, such as political manipulation or non-consensual pornography, these videos are referred to as “deep fakes”.

Ms Schick explained that this technology is developing rapidly and could be used to undermine democracy.

Speaking to, she explained: “The ability of AI to generate real fake synthetic media is something that has only been around for about two and a half years and can be traced back to the revolution of deep learning over the past five years. .

“It’s something really, really cutting edge, really new, basically fake media created by AI.

“It will be the most sophisticated disinformation tool known to mankind to date” (Image: VIDEO GETTY / BUZZFEED)

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Extract from a deep fake in which Barack Obama seems to say “Killmonger is right” (Image: BUZZFEED VIDEO)

“We are increasingly faced with a future where media and content production will be driven by AI.

“Some experts I interviewed for my book said that within five to seven years 90% of online video content will be synthetic.

“This will be the most sophisticated disinformation tool known to mankind so far, because you are essentially going to use Hollywood-level special effects, whether in a song, audio or movie, democratizing it through to the AI ​​to the point. where anyone can create that kind of content.

“So if I have a snippet of your voice, if I have a few images of your digital likeness, I can train the AI ​​to look like you, act and sound like you in video and audio.”

READ MORE: Elon Musk: SpaceX CEO in ‘scary’ deep fake video


Trump’s deepfake appearing to say “We all know climate change is wrong, just like this video” (Image: Capture of Klimaatpetitie)

Deepfakes, such as clips of actors edited from movie scenes and replaced by other celebrities, are increasingly common on video-sharing sites such as YouTube.

A clip, viewed over 650,000 times, edits US President Donald Trump on the hit TV show Breaking Bad.

In another, developed by comedian Jordan Peele and Buzzfeed, Barack Obama appears to be giving a speech he never gave.

In the clip, the former president appears to comment, “We are entering an era in which our enemies can make it seem like anyone is saying anything at any time, even though they would never say these things.


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deep fakes

Nina Schick is the author of ‘Deepfakes: The Coming Infocalypse’ (Image: BLOOMBERG)


AI has a growing number of utilities like facial recognition (Image: GETTY)

“So, for example, they could make me say things like ‘Killmonger [comic book villain] is right ‘or’ Ben Carson is in a sunken place ‘or how about this,’ President Trump is a total and complete dive ** t ‘.

Ms Schick warned that deepfake technology is already being used on a large scale to produce “non-consensual pornography,” where a person’s likeness is embedded into pornographic material without their consent and possibly even without their knowledge.

Currently this is mostly used on celebrities, but could theoretically happen to anyone.

However, she expects deepfakes to increasingly find their way into the political arena.

Ms Schick commented: “This can of course be used as a tool for political propaganda, but the other thing about deep fakes that is really important for politics is that in a world where anything can be rigged, including a video of yourself telling and doing things you never did, all can be denied.

“I think this is the first negative impact we’re going to see in politics before deepfakes and synthetic media even become ubiquitous.

“You are already starting to see this where genuine evidence emerges from people having said or done something and it is dismissed as a deepfake.

“So basically deepfakes are a threat to liberal democracy, because if you don’t have an objective sense of what’s real and what isn’t, it’s very hard to see how it is.” not an existential threat to liberal democracy.

“Ideal for authoritarians, very bad for democracy”.

Ms Schick warns that deep fakes are likely to become so advanced that humans cannot differentiate them from videos of real events, only AI can potentially tell the difference between the two.


“I would like to say that there is one thing we have to do but there is no quick fix.” (Image: GETTY)

She said: “There is absolutely something we can do and that’s why I wrote the book. In terms of solutions, there are two main categories. The first concerns technical solutions, such as creating AI software to detect counterfeits, which will become necessary as they become ubiquitous and indistinguishable by the human eye.

“But also doing things like embedding in the software of devices, whether it’s a phone or a camera, authenticity almost like a watermark to prove it’s media. authentic.

“Second, you have to think about building the resilience of the company because you can create the best technical tools and defenses, but until the company accepts that this is a problem and wants to do something, nothing. will not happen.

“I would like to say that there is one thing we have to do, but there is no quick fix.”

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