Prevent AI- Recent developments in artificial intelligence (AI) point to an age where forgery of documents, pictures, audio recordings, videos, and online identities will occur with unprecedented ease. AI is poised to make high-fidelity forgery inexpensive and automated, leading to potentially disastrous consequences for democracy, security, and society. As an AI researcher, I’m here to sound the alarm, and to suggest a partial solution.
In February, AI-based forgery reached a watershed moment–the OpenAI research company announced GPT-2, an AI generator of text so seemingly authentic that they deemed it too dangerous to release publicly for fears of misuse. Sample paragraphs generated by GPT-2 are a chilling facsimile of human- authored text. Unfortunately, even more powerful tools are sure to follow and be deployed by rogue actors.
Automated forgery is already prevalent on social media, as we witnessed during the 2016 U.S. elections. Twitter has uncovered tens of thousands of automated accounts linked to Russia in the months preceding the 2016 election, according to The Washington Post. Facebook estimated that fake news spread by Russian-backed bots from January 2015 to August 2017 reached potentially half of the 250 million Americans who are eligible to vote.
I have called for regulations requiring bots to disclose they are not human, and the state of California introduced a corresponding law that will take effect in July, 2019. This is a valuable step, but in the international digital world legislation has limited practical impact.
The problem extends far beyond bots. Doctored images are commonplace, and recent advances in image processing have enabled the creation of realistic fake video. Researchers demonstrated this new capability with AI-generated video of former President Barack Obama speaking phrases that were previously only audio clips. Then came “deepfakes,” AI-generated videos of entirely new facial expressions of a target person created by stitching together two faces in an eerily convincing way. This face-swapping technology is sufficiently available that it has started appearing in pornography, with several high-profile celebrities‘ faces added to pornographic videos. A viral video of Obama issuing a warning about deepfakes was, itself, a fake.