Cognificance

Cognificance

About the significance of machine cognition

Cognificance

About the significance of machine cognition

The Real Threat of AI

Quite a number of well-known tech leaders have campaigned for government control of artificial intelligence technology. The common thread of their argument points towards intelligent machines overtaking the human race or even causing its annihilation.

While there certainly is cause for concern, the current rate of AI technological development doesn't make a horror scenario with killer robots (i.e. Terminator) anything to lose sleep over right now. Lets talk along those lines in 20 years time. What
is very much a current cause for concern, however, is the development of so-called "deep-fake" technology. Using AI, it is possible to generate a voice "recording" of anyone, saying what you want them to. In other words, the AI is trained on some real voice material from that person and can then be fed blocks of text which it will turn into a speech segment that is indistinguishable from "the real thing". If you would like the president of a country hold a stepping-down speech, that can be done.

While faking of audio speech has been around for some time, the technology has recently gone one step further:
deep-fake video. From video material actually holding the stepping-down speech to projecting a person's face into any number of critical or embarrassing situations, the sky is the limit. And while personally attacking a celebrity by posting deep-fake videos of them in any number of demeaning situations is a horrifying thing, the real damage will come from manipulated video with a political message. Spread via social media, this type of material will go viral long before anyone can broadcast "it was a fake" to the world. From getting leaders deposed to starting violent reactions to starting wars between nations - anything is possible here. Have a look at this video to see the technology at work.

The next technological step will be to make generation of this type of material near-real-time - at which point the term "fake news" will have taken on a much more prominent label. We'll all have to be much more restrained in reacting to any video material we see in the near future - and we absolutely need to educate everyone world-wide about the issue!
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