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We are entering an age where we can no longer believe our own eyes, a political commentator has warned.
Nina Schick's new book Deepfakes: The Coming Infocalypse predicts the rise of sophisticated artificial intelligence -driven fake news will completely derail democracy.
She said: "We are increasingly facing a future where media and content production is going to be made by AI."
“Some experts who I interviewed for my book said that within five to seven years’ time 90% of video content online is going to be synthetic.
She explained: “The ability of AI to generate actual fake synthetic media is something that’s only been around for about two and a half years and can be traced back to the revolution in deep learning over the last five years.”
She told Express Online : “This is something that’s really, really cutting edge, really new, essentially a fake piece of media made by AI.
“We are increasingly facing a future where media and content production is going to be made by AI.
The technology to create a completely convincing video “puppet” was once limited to top-flight Hollywood studios but the day when a completely photorealistic “fake news” video can be created using a smartphone is less than five years away.
Already smartphone apps such as ReFace enable the user to drop themselves into Hollywood movies or big budget music videos.
That technology represents a real threat to democracy, Ms Schick added.
She continued: "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.”
A corrupt politician caught on camera doing or saying something that should end their career could just write it off as a deepfake and suffer no consequences, she said.
“That’s the first adverse impact I think we’re going to see in politics before deepfakes and synthetic media even become ubiquitous," she says.
“You’re already starting to see that where authentic evidence is emerging of people having said or done something and it’s being dismissed as a deepfake.
“So essentially deepfakes 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.”
- Artificial Intelligence
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