A Threat That’s Not Going Away Anytime Soon

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Artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things are bringing the globe closer together and assisting humanity in solving some of its most pressing problems. 

Whether it’s eradicating poverty or healing previously incurable illnesses, technology is paving the path forward. However, rapidly increasing technology, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), is posing its own set of concerns. 

Of course, science fiction would have us think that AI poses a danger to civilization, that it has the ability to take over the planet and terrorize humankind.

However, we should not be concerned about the possibility of killer robots. But there’s something more on the horizon. And, should I say, sinister as well. 

Some Background Information

In 1997, a groundbreaking project called Video Rewrite was released. It took existing video of a person and turned it into a whole new video in which they mouthed words from a separate audio track. Machine learning methods were employed in this study to create correlations between the form of a person’s face and the noises they made. 

A similar film called ‘Synthesizing Obama’ aired two decades later, depicting the former US president speaking things he never uttered. 

The majority of these initiatives were for academic study. They would, however, prove to be the forerunners of what we now know as deepfakes. 

Deepfakes’ Ascension 

Deepfakes, a Reddit user, started publishing modified videos in the second part of 2017. These movies featured celebrities’ faces on the bodies of pornographic women and were created utilizing deep learning technology (thus the name). The visage of actor Nicolas Cage was changed onto several movie sequences in some of the less-harmful ones. 

The user shared the machine learning code that was used to make the films, and r/deepfakes, a Reddit community, sprung up as a result. When FakeApp was released in January 2018, things became much worse. Anyone may now superimpose other people’s faces on their bodies.

Now fast forward to the present day. Deepfakes are a disease that has now swept throughout the internet. Anyone, including celebrities, politicians, and even their neighbors, may create phony videos. 

FakeApp use artificial intelligence to create realistic face constructs and apply them to video. There is no need for footage of the possible victim for this. They can get by with photographs from a person’s social media timeline that are of reasonable quality.

Threats like domain theft and man-in-the-middle assaults pale in contrast to the danger of having your false films broadcast over the internet.

Businesses are Experiencing Excessive Heat

While the idea of AI disseminating false news is concerning, deepfakes have the potential to entirely destroy enterprises. Criminals impersonating CEOs and releasing phony films may cost businesses millions of dollars. 

A plausible copycat may send a company’s stock falling, as these films get more realistic by the day. For example, if a bogus video of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos admitting product flaws went viral, the company’s stock price would plummet. 

This increasing issue is causing anxiety even among tiny enterprises. Julia Markle is the head of digital content at ClothingRIC, a company that distributes clothing and lifestyle discounts. Her organization, she fears, is considerably more vulnerable to faked films. “We don’t have an army of attorneys or specialists in case we’re ever confronted with a deepfake scenario, unlike Microsoft and Apple.” 

The danger of edited films harming company, on the other hand, exists in the corporate sphere. 

The Tech Giants are Getting Ready for a Fight

Companies are asking for protection and seeking to build detecting technologies, realizing the seriousness of the situation. 

Facebook is number one. 

As part of its Deepfake Detection Challenge, Facebook is providing a collection of videos and faces (DFDC). According to Facebook’s Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer, the goal of this effort is to “create technology that everyone can use to better recognize when AI has been used to change a video in order to deceive the viewer.”

This initiative includes Amazon, Microsoft, and a number of academic and research institutes. 

Google is number two.

Meanwhile, Google is contributing to the battle against deepfake in a similar way. In an attempt to aid academics working on detecting algorithms, the search engine behemoth has uploaded 3000 deepfake movies of its own. 

The team recorded a variety of scenarios with professional actors and developed the database using publicly accessible deepfake development tools. Researchers may use this dataset to improve the effectiveness and accuracy of their detection systems.

Twitter is number three. 

Another social media network, Twitter, is working on a strategy to combat the spread of deepfakes. Last month, Twitter sent out a series of tweets asking for user comment on what it calls “fake and distorted media.” 

Face-swapping AI films are described as “material that has been considerably changed or made in a manner that affects the original meaning/purpose, or makes it seem as if certain events occurred that did not really occur,” according to the company.

The website previously prohibited phony pornographic movies, but it has yet to adopt a general policy governing modified videos on a bigger scale. 

Deepfake Detection for Everyday Netizens

Until a trustworthy system for tracing deepfakes is developed, viewers might seek for faults to see whether they are being tricked. 

Here are a few indicators that the video you’re viewing has been tampered with. 

• Skin color:

In most edited videos, a person’s face has a distinct skin tone than the rest of their body. It also seems to be unusually smooth. 

• Blinking that isn’t normal:

Until now, the algorithm hasn’t progressed far enough to produce videos in which the human blinks regularly. 

• Sluggish speech:

In videos, people who are impersonated speak slowly. The audio, on the other hand, does not resemble their genuine voice. 

Borders on the face:

The facial boundaries in most altered videos are indistinct and blend in with the backdrop. 

• Weird appearance:

Overall, deepfakes have a peculiar appearance that can be seen with the naked eye. 

Fortunately, technology has not yet progressed to the point where perfect false videos are possible. However, in the future years, this will begin to alter. 

The Long Way Home

While it’s encouraging to see companies like Google and Facebook invest in deepfake detection software, the technology they’re fighting against is rapidly evolving. The IT community is now playing catch-up, while the prospect of increasingly advanced deepfakes looms. One can only imagine the anarchy that would occur when the border between reality and fiction becomes even more blurred. 

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