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Destruction by "deep fake"

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  • Destruction by "deep fake"

    Will we destroy ourselves with our own inventions ?

    It's very possible.

    I'm placing this in humanities issues because I think it belongs here, rather than in science, because this has more to do with our human tendencies of manipulation, our ability to BE manipulated, dishonesty and avoidance of reality.

    Read and consider;

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    ..deepfake is the ability to create phony photos, audio recordings, or video footage of actual people that are so realistic its nearly impossible to tell that they were faked.

    Examples abound all over the internet, including one created by Jordan Peele of President Obama giving a speech warning about deepfakes. Watch it, and youll find it hard to believe it isnt Obama saying what youre seeing and hearing him say, but its a fabrication, made with his permission but not his participation.

    ..

    Deepfakes were in the news recently when Scarlet Johannsen spoke up in public about porn sites that cleverly superimpose the heads of stars, including hers, onto the bodies of porn actresses.

    This is a problem that affects hundreds of well-known female personalities.

    Some of the videos are so well done that theyve affected careers and reputations. (In the interest of truth, which is after all what this column is all about, it should be said that the problem isnt helped much by the fact that not all of the videos are fake. A lot of actresses have had home-made, private videos leak out and, when they do, it becomes that much harder to decry the fake ones, or to prove that theyre in fact fake.)

    ..while pseudo-porn diminishes us all, it isnt going to bring down democracy.

    Other uses of deepfakes are a far more dire threat.

    Consider this scenario: The night before an election, a video surfaces of a Senatorial candidate caught by a hidden camera accepting his share of money from a massive sale of cocaine.

    The candidate loses in a landslide before the video is exposed as a fake.

    Imagine a city on the edge of a race riot when a video is shown of the white mayor showering praise on the cops who are accused of shooting an unarmed black man in a back alley.

    How much time do you suppose will be spent investigating the video before the city explodes? For that matter, even if its exposed, how many people will still think its real?

    After all, the anti-vaccination movement is alive and well even though it was founded on data exposed as fake.

    These are well-known problems that are already being discussed. But Im worried about one that might be worse.

    While its a good thing that the public is becoming aware of these abilities to create fakes, and will therefore (I fervently hope) bring some skepticism to what they see, what happens when people start to doubt everything they see?

    Its tough enough trying to convince people with biases that something that supports those biases is fake. How are we going to convince them that something that runs counter to their bias is real?


    ..Much of the credulity is based on the well-known phenomenon of confirmation bias, the eagerness to believe anything that supports your world view.

    Right now we have politicians who dont have any problem telling people that whats right before their eyes is wrong.

    Thankfully, even the true believers are often (albeit not often enough) moved to dismiss these absurdities as the obvious lies they are.


    But what happens as deepfakes become more realistic and difficult to detect? What stops a politician from saying, That speech [or shooting or fight or bribe] you saw was faked even when it wasnt, especially if there are demonstrably faked videos all over the place?

    The answer, to some, is simply to do a better job of detection, scientifically separating the real from the phony.

    And this is where things start to get really scary.

    The term deepfake is a portmanteau of deep learning, a powerful technique of artificial intelligence, and fake.

    Deep learning is an iterative process in which a computer program gets smarter and smarter about a task that its given, perfecting its technique based on feedback regarding how well its doing. So if someones head is superimposed on another persons body, and the result looks a little off because the movements dont quite match, the deep learning program can attempt several methods of better synchronizing movement until the discrepancies diminish or disappear. And it can do that over and over again, hundreds of times per second, improving all the time.

    This ability is as frightening as it is fascinating. There are a lot of efforts underway, primarily by the Defense Department, to develop techniques of spotting deepfakes.

    ...

    What we end up with is the diminishing primacy of facts and the weaponizing of artificial intelligence.

    When it becomes easy to fake facts, primary sources of information heretofore considered sacrosanct will lose their stature as the basis of truth. And once politicians, autocrats, and tyrants lay legitimate claim to doubt evidence-based criticism, were in very serious trouble.


    https://www.newsmax.com/leegruenfeld.../16/id/898512/

  • #2
    "It must be true because I saw it on the Internet" I hear people say rolled in sarcasm on almost a daily basis. Skepticism is the American way - and I think intelligent people will always find ways to distinguish reality from BS. But much of this responsibility is in the hands of journalists.

    First, I would like to say I am a bit of an expert on such technology. I have decades of experience with CAD 3D modeling and Photoshop editing - and in recent years have jumped into aerial photography (with drones). I do my share of work for commercial and residential real estate -- and as you might guess - there are strict rules against presenting false images on a multiple listing service. It would be quite easy for me to clean up the property, increase the size of the yard, or fix an old roof and worn siding with my photo editing expertise. I do these kinds of things all of the time for customers looking for 'display photos'. A great aerial shot of the house or cabin is a nice addition to your office wall. In these photos I delete, stretch, enhance, color adjust, and anything else to bring out the true beauty of the property. But MLS listings are a different ball game. Even something as simple as editing out the power lines -- which an agent asked me if I could do just last week - is clearly not ethical.

    Close-up on a pixel by pixel basis there are limitations to the contrast from one pixel to the next - as photos naturally blur a bit. I can zoom in on any photo I have edited and find the anomalies in pixel contrast where the edits have been made. Digital photos are often 3840 (4K) or more pixels wide. When you compress the image size it can help hide such edits - for example an HD monitor is only 1920 pixels wide -- meaning there is already 50% compression. This is where journalistic integrity comes into play. I am quite certain that any reputable publication would require the Camera RAW file to verify authenticity. (The original photo contains a digital fingerprint. This file contains not only the pixel information but kind of a binary reading that contains additional data about the specific camera used including format and settings. The RAW file can be four times the size of the image file.) Overall, I am not too worried about reputable news services running with the 'October Surprise' deepfake scenario.

    By reputable I mean all we would include in the 'mainstream media'. I know you may be surprised I say this - but even MSM sources generally can be trusted. The bias typically exhibited is which stories they pick to ignore and how they headline the articles they do run. Also, the editorial page is a liberal temper tantrum. However, in the stories they chose to report the truth can be found. It is often buried four paragraphs deep in the story but the actual facts are reported. Journalists police each other and despite how it seems lying is still not acceptable.

    A great example is Rathergate in 2004. Several individuals paid a big price for lack of authentication of the forged Bush Texas Air National Guard documents. I know many of us conservatives feel the price should have been higher -- but there were a couple individuals forever forced out the news industry due to this scandal. Dan Rather was the news director so the buck stops with him. But the reality is those in the CBS organization who presented supposedly 'authenticated' documents to Rather took the biggest hit. The important point here is that these forged documents blew up in their faces within hours of being presented as news -- and even the Bush hating Washington press corp belittled CBS for such incompetency.

    Here is a story all over in the headlines this morning as an example of typical liberal media bias that is truthful -- but quite deceptive:
    Model claiming Trump secrets deported from Thailand
    After being arrested last February for sex crimes this 'model' claimed she had the missing puzzle pieces to connect Trump to the Kremlin. But her story had absolutely no credibility and no evidence was ever presented as she promised. To my knowledge this story was never published 11 months ago due to journalistic integrity -- a slight bit of investigation discredited the entire premise. But they set it on the shelf for possible future use. And now they can report that a sex criminal is being deported from Thailand back to Russia. That is it. That is the whole story. However, reporting this gave them cover to include her accusations against Trump -- even though within the same article they disregard any truth to her claims. Even though this is not a lie, it was a way to get 'Trump', 'Russia', and 'Sex Crimes' all into the same story. Who can resist that?

    The bias is MSM choosing to run with that story as top page material instead of Pelosi's lie about the government shutdown reducing capital hill security. That is what concerns me much more than any of the 'deepfake' technology fooling news organizations.
    Last edited by SupPackFan; 4 weeks ago.

    ?


    • #3
      Bias with the ability to fake, mislead & distract will be, already IS an issue.

      Look at what was done with Justice Kavanaugh. Creating fake accusers is a new art itself.

      With the ability to create fake photos & videos.. where does it end ?

      That's what is scary.

      The "media" can find a fake accuser, present a fake video, spread it from hell to breakfast all over America.

      By the time it's shown as false, the damage is done.... & who would believe the falsifying evidence ??!! When anything can be faked

      ?


      • #4
        I first recall seeing this in Obamas campaign against John McCain:

        His lordship tried to get a video of McCain cursing out reporters on a plane to go viral. But their expertise was lacking as it was quite clear someone elses voice was dubbed into that video and while it DID sound close, as SupPackFan noted, if you zoomed in on McCains mouth, lip movements were off sort of like an English-dubbed Japanese horror flick (but not quite that bad).

        today, as the OP points out, disreputable sources have become more adept AND younger audiences less discerning so these fakes get promoted as true.

        ?


        • #5
          Right. And this kind of stuff was attempted against Obama as well. I remember the video of him 'not respecting' the national anthem with no hand over his heart. But the video clips and audio were adjusted to make it look that way - but actual video proved it ridiculous.

          As technology to fake increases so does the expertise to detect such fakery. I have distinct memories of 1978 going to the drive-in theater to watch Superman. The blue-screen filming techniques were so impressive one would think Christopher Reeve was really circling the skies of Metropolis. 15 years later when CGI took over with flicks like Independence Day and Jurassic Park -- the old blue screen movies were cartoonish in comparison. When it comes to the horror film industry gore has appeared pretty realistic since the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. 45 years ago.

          The newest technology is only impressive until we become accustomed to it. News organizations will hesitate to produce any footage as 'real' without an original file to analyze. And on the rare occasions such authentication does not take place -- like in Rathergate -- the fallout will set back that news organization for a decade.

          Added, I believe most of the young adults today are quite skeptical of every photo or video they see. The Instagram generation tends to believe everything could be a fake. I am really not worried about stuff like this.

          ?


          • #6
            Originally posted by SupPackFan View Post
            Right. And this kind of stuff was attempted against Obama as well. I remember the video of him 'not respecting' the national anthem with no hand over his heart. But the video clips and audio were adjusted to make it look that way - but actual video proved it ridiculous.

            As technology to fake increases so does the expertise to detect such fakery. I have distinct memories of 1978 going to the drive-in theater to watch Superman. The blue-screen filming techniques were so impressive one would think Christopher Reeve was really circling the skies of Metropolis. 15 years later when CGI took over with flicks like Independence Day and Jurassic Park -- the old blue screen movies were cartoonish in comparison. When it comes to the horror film industry gore has appeared pretty realistic since the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. 45 years ago.

            The newest technology is only impressive until we become accustomed to it. News organizations will hesitate to produce any footage as 'real' without an original file to analyze. And on the rare occasions such authentication does not take place -- like in Rathergate -- the fallout will set back that news organization for a decade.

            Added, I believe most of the young adults today are quite skeptical of every photo or video they see. The Instagram generation tends to believe everything could be a fake. I am really not worried about stuff like this.
            In GENERAL I'm not either.

            As I said earlier though;

            The "media" can find a fake accuser, present a fake video, spread it from hell to breakfast all over America.

            By the time it's shown as false, the damage is done.... & who would believe the falsifying evidence ??!! When anything can be faked..


            A sentence from the source of the opening post is worth thinking about too;

            And once politicians, autocrats, and tyrants lay legitimate claim to doubt evidence-based criticism, were in very serious trouble.

            ?


            • #7
              Originally posted by Captain Trips View Post

              In GENERAL I'm not either.

              As I said earlier though;

              The "media" can find a fake accuser, present a fake video, spread it from hell to breakfast all over America.

              By the time it's shown as false, the damage is done.... & who would believe the falsifying evidence ??!! When anything can be faked..


              A sentence from the source of the opening post is worth thinking about too;

              And once politicians, autocrats, and tyrants lay legitimate claim to doubt evidence-based criticism, were in very serious trouble.
              It is difficult to dispute your words in bold. I guess the reason I do not worry about the media falling for new 'deep fake' technologies is because they do not even need such video effects to spin the story 'their' way. Here we have this case at the Lincoln Memorial that did not even require any CGI video effects - just the release of a short clip and without any investigation immediately Phillips story is believed. Even after general media admission that they got the story wrong - a week later they are still treating this incident with the same 'privileged kids vs innocent Native American' spin proven wrong by all visual evidence:


              So yeah - I may be overestimated the MSM ability to correct a story proven wrong.

              ?


              • #8
                I confess, in another medium, I am pretty much trolling those back-fence, judgementsl biddies who jumped on this story about a teenaged kid infringing on the rights of a poor, hapless Viet Nam Veteren Native American.

                since the whole story broke from the not-ready-for-Prime-time media, I wanted to believe most of those excoriating the teen, Christians, the Catholic Church, and the school would want to cleanse their jumping to conclusions conscience...

                to date, not only have none of them done so, but not one of them has even responded.

                i here openly offer redrover the opportunity to be the first, possibly the only, person of integrity amongst those haters...

                anyone taking the bet he wont respond?

                ?


                • #9
                  Originally posted by SupPackFan View Post

                  It is difficult to dispute your words in bold. I guess the reason I do not worry about the media falling for new 'deep fake' technologies is because they do not even need such video effects to spin the story 'their' way. Here we have this case at the Lincoln Memorial that did not even require any CGI video effects - just the release of a short clip and without any investigation immediately Phillips story is believed. Even after general media admission that they got the story wrong - a week later they are still treating this incident with the same 'privileged kids vs innocent Native American' spin proven wrong by all visual evidence:


                  So yeah - I may be overestimated the MSM ability to correct a story proven wrong.
                  I see what you're saying & agree.

                  It's just the "media" being so dumb and stubborn - like the donkeys

                  I guess they think that's going to help them ?

                  ?

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