Driving home from Comic Con I listened to a Radiolab interview about the emerging field of fake video & audio. They interview teams at companies like Adobe who are making tools to deliver fake video that is indistinguishable from real.
Adobe's VoCo, for example, is audio software that helps filmmakers change a scene without having to re-shoot it if Meryl Streep flubbed a line or the script changes later. It's so good it's creepy.
They are producing videos so real-looking, no one but possibly a forensics expert can tell for sure, and it would take the forensic expert days.
So.... Can anyone predict where this will take us?
Well, it's been hard to trust photos since Photoshop came around; often takes an expert to examine the photo to determine if it was (possibly) manipulated. This is the next step, I guess. Very, very scary.
It is the sort of people with the power to take control of technology like this that should never have access to it. OTOH, a world where people know they cannot trust what they see and hear from any media source might lead to a revival of critical thinking. Or a horrible dystopian future where Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia. Either way, you can't put the genie back in the bottle so we are going to find out.
We already have real video footage of Trump saying all sorts of ridiculous, untrue and generally stupid things and yet it appears to have minimal affects on people's views so why worry about fake videos? People generally fall victim to observation bias and believe things that support their view and ignore things that go against there view. In other words what difference will it really make? When I first heard of this possibility about a year ago I though omg that'll be bad but now I think it won't be a very big deal. We are in the post facts/truth era.
I think in some ways photoshop has made people more skeptical of pictures and in my mind that's a good thing. Of course then Trump can say "I didn't say that" even when we have video of him saying it. In fact he already does this so what difference does it make? Even when listening live to a political debate for example, different people hear different things. People will hear what they want to hear. Yeah this new ability makes things a little worse but I don't see it being any kind of a game changer. Both sides can use it so...
Agreed. People already are fooled by all sorts of images, and video, real and fake.
And not only do they not believe photos or videos, but even press releases coming out of the government is continually perceived by large swaths of the public as untrustworthy. And another huge portion of people don't trust the independent media.
This fake video things is just yet another tool that the good guys are going to have to fight against to try to bring a common sense of truth and facts back to the world. How do we start to get people to trust "news" and "facts" when everything is so tainted with bias?
An interesting thought I've had recently is about having a future where there exists a "global media" state, where they as a state only exist to serve the interests of journalistic integrity in every nation around our planet.
Members (or citizens) of this "global media" state would be people from all over the world who decide to no longer pledge loyalty to a flag or constitution with the best interests of a "nation-state" in mind. Instead, they pledge to some globally accepted constitution and rule of law and integrity and only exist to expose the truth to every person in existence.
Of course there would be tons of safeguards to define what could and couldn't be accepted as "truth" and it would have to be above any religious or spiritual law, and instead only serve the best interests of expanding human knowledge and survival.