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“Suddenly There’s No More Reality”

The deepfakes and AI scams abound

With the proliferation of AI text and images, the issue of deepfakes is of deepening concern. The better AI gets at refashioning reality, will the already murky waters of the Internet become too surreal to navigate? Even real videos, when divorced from their proper context, can be deeply misleading. When entire clips are artificially contrived, then, it seems like the line between fact and fiction dissolves entirely.

Some folks are already worried. Victor Tangermann writes at Futurism,

[Given] recent developments, the situation is likely to get worse before it can get better. AI tools are making it easier to generate deepfakes every year. These days, an AI can be trained on a relatively small stockpile of audiovisual data to convincingly make it look like somebody is making a statement they never made.

“What’s different is that everybody can do it now,” Britt Paris, an assistant professor of library and information science at Rutgers University, told the New York Times earlier this year.

“It’s not just people with sophisticated computational technology and fairly sophisticated computational know-how,” Paris addd. “Instead, it’s a free app.”

-Victor Tangermann, Reality Is Melting as Lawyers Claim Real Videos Are Deepfakes (futurism.com)

Lawyers and politicians worry about the political dimensions of deepfakes. Even more broadly speaking, though, it’s worrisome that such a capacity is in the hands of everyday actors. Terrifying reports of scam artists faking the voices of loved ones using AI are starting to hit the news. As noted above, it doesn’t take much these days to make a deepfake. Using pictures from Instagram accounts and online videos can do the trick.

All the better, perhaps, to make sure we are spending most of our time interacting with real people in the real world to maintain a sense of foundation and mooring in an increasingly virtual world.

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“Suddenly There’s No More Reality”