The US House Intelligence Committee gathered for a hearing today to listen to experts speak on the threats posed by “deepfake” videos and other artificially generated, synthetic data.
For those who are unfamiliar, a deepfake video derives from real video footage and/or audio files that are transposed or manipulated in such a way as to smear the speaker, or to otherwise distort reality.
The hearing comes on the heals of an awful deepfake showing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slurring her words. Incredibly, the piece went viral, generating over 2.5 million views after President Trump shared it on Facebook.
Committee Chair Representative Adam Schiff [D-CA28] has suggested that whirlwind spread of deepfakes pushes us towards a “nightmarish” set of scenarios as we approach the 2020 elections.
“Now is the time for…companies to put in place policies to protect users from misinformation, not in 2021, after viral deepfakes have polluted the 2020 elections. By then, it will be too late.”
Concerns abound in relation to foreign entities flooding the political landscape with these pieces of misinformation. Politico suggests that people may even dismiss real videos, as they flounder in the chaos of trying to peal the real away from the fake.
At today’s hearing, presenters noted that there’s no ‘silver bullet’ solution, and asserted that deepfakes are a persistent and proliferating problem. Deepfakes are not only an issue in relation to all things political. They’re also a threat to corporations.
An expert from University of Maryland’s Francis King Carey School of Law, made the valuable point that “The night before a public offering….a deepfake showing a company’s CEO…could upend the IPO, the market will respond and fall far faster than we can debunk it.”
Get the latest on this story from CBS News.