The future is coming. There is little we can do to alter the timeline. One of the questions we should ask about technology’s role in humanity’s future is whether or not technology will make life better or worse?
We may use technology to help us improve health, but how has ubiquitous social media and frenzied and fragmented information helped to improve humanity?
I worry that the future will be about fakes. Fakes?
Already technology has the capability to create deepfakes that are difficult to dispute video reproductions of humanity.
Deepfake (a portmanteau of “deep learning” and “fake”) is a technique for human image synthesis based on artificial intelligence. It is used to combine and superimpose existing images and videos onto source images or videos using a machine learning technique known as generative adversarial network. Because of these capabilities, deepfakes have been used to create fake celebrity pornographic videos or revenge porn. Deepfakes can also be used to create fake news and malicious hoaxes and financial fraud.
See the danger?
Is that video you saw of a politician actually the politician speaking? Or, was it a deepfake? Yes, the technology is that good.
Adobe has technology which can take a human’s speaking voice and make it say anything, just by typing the words into a keyboard.
We’ve all see CGI at work in dinosaur movies, superhero movies, and more, but how about resurrecting a star who died decades ago and putting his likeness– which looks real– into a new movie.
James Dean will return to the screen in Finding Jack… the iconic actor, who passed away in 1955, has been posthumously cast in a major supporting role.
How is that possible? A production company will take photos and videos of Dean’s work and bring him to life in the ultimate deepfake. Cinematic reality.
Is this new technology? No, but it has never been better.
This isn’t the first time Hollywood has cast deceased actors in films via CG. Oliver Reed appeared in Gladiator in 2000 after his death, and Paul Walker was digitally revived in Furious 7
How long before we have a full length, a feature-length movie made completely by computer graphics; CGI?
Wait. There’s more! And it’s worse.
In February, OpenAI announced that it had developed an algorithm that could write believable fake news and spam. Deciding that power was too dangerous to unleash, OpenAI planned a staged release so that it could offer pieces of the tech and analyze how it was used.
OpenAI says there was no strong evidence of misuse. How would they know?
That means that what you read online may not have been generated by a human. AI, artificial intelligence, could have pieced together the facts and created everything you read.
OpenAI says it hopes the full version will help researchers develop better AI-generated-text detection models and root out language biases.
I’m sure that will work out to humanity’s benefit.
What I see coming is the advent of dangerous players– China and Russia, I’m looking at you– who master the techniques and have non-humans reading artificially generated news, conducting artificially generated interviews, perhaps even displaying artificial news videos.
In an age where the camera in an iPhone appears as good as a camera with a $10,000 price tag, how would we know the difference?