Biden faces lightning attack from ‘gamechanger’ Russian weapon
Biden says democracy is ‘under assault’ by MAGA Republicans
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The US President has been put on notice over Russia’s use of deepfakes, an increasingly sophisticated form of media that uses artificial intelligence (AI). The pioneering technology can be used to synthetically alter audio and video to create fake images that appear highly realistic. Deepfakes have been used for light-hearted purposes, such as producing a lifelike version of the actor Tom Cruise.
However, they also have more sinister uses, including the creation of a video showing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky surrendering during the Ukraine war.
Leading deepfakes expert Nina Schick described the technology as a “game-changing” human advancement.
In a recent interview with CBS’ ‘60 Minutes’ podcast, she said: “The fact that AI can now be used to make images and video that are fake that look hyper-realistic, I thought, well, from a disinformation perspective, this is a game changer.”
The political scientist and technology consultant first came across deepfakes when she was researching Russia’s use of disinformation in elections.
She added: “It is without a doubt one of the most important revolutions in the future of human communication and perception.
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“I would say it is analogous to the birth of the Internet.”
The expert, who wrote the 2020 book ‘Deepfakes’, explained that she was looking at deepfakes “from the perspective of disinformation and manipulation in the context of elections”.
Although experts are fearful of countries like Russia using deepfakes to sway voters, so far there is no evidence to suggest that the technology has influenced a US election.
However, that has not stopped American intelligence chiefs warning of Russia’s use of deepfakes.
In March 2021, FBI warned that “Russian [and] Chinese… actors are using synthetic profile images” to construct fake journalists and other public figures.
In June of this year, the FBI’s Internet crime complaint arm then issued a fresh deepfakes warning.
It reported an “increase in complaints reporting the use of deepfakes and stolen personally identifiable information”.
The US intelligence agency claimed that deepfakes were being used to “apply for a variety of remote work and work-at-home positions”.
The FBI said: “Deepfakes include a video, an image, or recording convincingly altered and manipulated to misrepresent someone as doing or saying something that was not actually done or said.”
Actors were using the technology to try to impersonate job applicants’ specific facial expressions and actions, the FBI warned.
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It added: “Complaints report the use of voice spoofing, or potentially voice deepfakes, during online interviews of the potential applicants.
“In these interviews, the actions and lip movement of the person seen interviewed on-camera do not completely coordinate with the audio of the person speaking.
“At times, actions such as coughing, sneezing, or other auditory actions are not aligned with what is presented visually.”
As well as deepfakes’ impact on individuals, the technology could also be used in a lightning attack to harm the markets, according to US Republican Senator Ben Sasse.
He said: “When you think about the catastrophic potential to public trust and to markets that could come from deepfake attacks, are we organised in a way that we could possibly respond fast enough?”
His warning, which came during a US hearing, was echoed by Dan Coats, the former US Director of National Intelligence.
He said: “We clearly need to be more agile. It poses a major threat to the US and something that the intelligence community needs to be restructured to address.”
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