Deep Fakes: Expert reveals 60,000 videos identified in 2020
Nina Schick, author of ‘Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse’, made the claim. AI algorithms are producing increasingly advanced synthetic, or fake, videos some of which are being used to spread political disinformation.
Speaking to Express.co.uk Ms Schick said: “We are increasingly facing a future where media and content production is going to be made by AI.
“So the future is completely synthetic. Some experts who I interviewed for my book said that within five to seven years’ time 90 percent of video content online is going to be synthetic.
“That isn’t all going to be used for bad things. There’s going to be very practical, viable, commercial applications of synthetic media.
“For one movies are going to become incredible, so are video games, the future of fashion, the future of fashion, the future of content production, the future of media is going to be completely changed by AI.
“We are increasingly facing a future where media is going to be made by AI”
“The future is completely synthetic”
“But the thing about building this cool technology, as the last few decades should have shown us, it that it’s also naturally going to be used as a weapon.”
Deepfakes, such as clips of actors edited out of film scenes and replaced by other celebrities, are becoming increasingly common on video sharing sites such as YouTube.
One clip, viewed more than 650,000 times, edits US President Donald Trump into the hit TV show Breaking Bad.
In another, developed by comedian Jordan Peele and Buzzfeed, Barack Obama is seen appearing to give a speech he never actually made.
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Screenshot of a deep fake produced of President Donald Trump
In the clip the former president appears to comment: “We are entering an era in which our enemies can make it look like anyone is saying anything at any point in time, even if they would never say those things.”
Ms Schick warned this technology will become increasingly prevent and used by both state and non-state actors.
She commented: “It is going to be the most sophisticated tool of disinformation known to humanity thus far.
“Essentially you’re going to take Hollywood level special effects, whether that’s in a piece or audio or a piece of film, something that until only about four years ago would have only been accessible to somebody who had teams of special effects artists, a multi-million dollar budget, and your democratising it through AI to the point where anybody can make that kind of content.
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“It’s going to be the most sophisticated tool of disinformation known to humanity”
“It can be used of course as a tool of political propaganda”
“When you look at the political application of this of course it’s going to be used as a tool of political propaganda because the AI can be used in a way that can be trained on your biometrics.
“So if I have a clip of your voice, if I have a few images of your digital likeness, I can train the AI to look and act and sound like you in video and audio.
“So it can be used of course as a tool of political propaganda but the other thing about deep fakes that’s really important to politics is that in a world where anything can be faked, including video of you saying and doing things that you never did, everything can be denied.
“So essentially deep fakes are a threat to liberal democracy because if you have no objective sense of what’s real and what’s not it’s very difficult to see how that isn’t an existential threat to liberal democracy. Great for authoritarians, very bad for democracy.”
Deep fakes: The technology behind the artificial intelligence
Ms Schick warns deep fakes are likely to become so advanced humans can’t differentiate them from video of real events, with only AI potentially being able to differentiate between the two.
As a result the public will require education on the dangers from fake videos whilst computer programmers will be locked in a constant arms race with deep fake producers to create software that can expose them.
Ms Schick explained: “We absolutely can do something and that’s why I wrote the book. In terms of solutions there are two broad categories. The first is the technical solutions so doing things like building the AI software to detect fakes which is going to become necessary as they become ubiquitous and undiscernible to the human eye.
Foreign states could use deep fakes to spread misinformation
“But also doing things like embedding into the software of devices, whether that’s a phone or a camera, authenticity so almost like a watermark to prove this is an authentic piece of media.
“Secondly you have to think about building society wide resilience because you can build the best technical tools and defences but until society accepts that this is a problem and wants to do something about it nothing’s going to happen.
“I would love to say there’s one thing we need to do but there is no one silver bullet answer.”