MEMPHIS, Tenn. — These days, the spread of misinformation and fake news is becoming a scarier issue by the minute. Experts say that deepfakes – basically, taking a photo or video content and using artificial intelligence to alter it, is becoming more prevalent
That site mixes images of thousands of people to create non-existent ones. It’s just one example of an, at times, unsettling technology. Deepfakes - both still images and video - make it so that just because you see something with your own eyes, doesn’t mean it’s real or factual.
“Deepfakes are taking video content, and they’re using more advanced AI and machine learning algorithms to stitch in a different voice or other content,” said Josh Summitt.
Summitt is an executive with DEVCON. DEVCON was ‘created by a team of innovators with 30 years of combined expertise in cybersecurity,’ according to their website.
Summitt, specifically, finds and tracks influence campaigns.
Fake news has become a household phrase, but Summitt said the fake news he tracks is much more worrisome than biased news or opinions you don’t happen to agree with.
“We really thought during the election season there was going to be outside actors trying to use ad space to try and influence elections by either spreading fake news or creating sensationalized articles,” Summitt said.
Some fake news is made with deepfakes; modern technology that makes people say and even do things they never actually did.
There’s one popular online video that shows former President Barack Obama saying, “we’re living in an era where our enemies can make it look like anyone is saying anything at any point in time.”
Except, it wasn’t Barack Obama. The video was a creation of comedian Jordan Peele – proving just how deceptive a seemingly-real video can be.
“Is this going to get worse before it gets better?” asked FOX13 Investigative Reporter Leah Jordan.
“I can only see that it’s going to ramp up significantly because already we see false information campaigns; all the research on Russian trolls and outside countries trying to influence our election,” Summitt said.
The issue only begins with politics, Summitt said.
Deepfakes can even wreck your personal life.
“Revenge porn, there’s even apps you can download that you can take a picture of any woman and basically put their face onto another body, and appear they have posed nude,” Summitt said.
This could ruin relationships, jobs, and much more for people.
If experts said this is only going to get worse before it gets better, what can folks at home do to fight the technology from impacting them negatively?
Summitt said, first, take comfort in knowing that cybersecurity professionals are constantly creating new software to identify and combat the issue. In fact, Summit said right now, about 90 percent of deepfakes can be detected and reported by AI software.
“90 percent sounds like such a great number, but when you’re talking in the tune of millions of people?” Leah Jordan said.
“We’re talking thousands that can still get through and mislead users,” Summitt said.
But experts are working daily to improve that number.
Summitt said his best advice is for consumers to start doing more than simply reading a headline or watching one, lone video.
“I really think the key takeaway is to validate your sources where you see your information. Don’t get your news from one source. Always check multiple sources,” Summitt said.
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