It will soon be impossible to tell what is real and what is fake.
Recent advances in AI mean that by scanning images of a person (for example using Facebook), a powerful machine learning system can create new video images and place them in scenarios and situations which never actually happened. When combined with powerful voice AI, the results are utterly convincing.
So-called ‘Deep Fakes’ are not only a real threat for democracy but they take the manipulation of voters to new levels. They will also affect ordinary people. This crisis of misinformation we are facing has been dubbed the ‘Infocalypse’.
Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse looks at the recent advances in AI how the use of deep fakes – video or images created by computer – have come along in recent years so that they are now virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. It’s both scary and fascinating – whereas once video would count as proof, now it’s open to suspicion. Can anything be trusted?
Schick’s book is a slim volume, but one which delves into how misinformation on a global scale is being used to affect democracy. Covering the Trump election in 2016 and looking forward to the imminent 2020 election, Schick investigates the Russian interference and how it could (or rather is) happening again. She looks at the key challenges facing democracy in our current climate of fakery and distrust, and it’s not a comforting read.
It’s a well-researched, fascinating read. One which you could probably get through in a single sitting, but will sit with you for a long time afterwards.
Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse by Nina Schick is published by Octopus Books and is out now.