Nor any of the follow-up articles I posted. Given onslaught of fabricated "news" that spread around the last election, this type of ML technology is almost guaranteed to play a role in the next one.
But now that I think about it, the most damage will come from making people even more incredulous... of everything.
It will become even harder to use evidence to prove a point. Uninformed people will just say "yeah sure, it's probably faked".
On the other hand... who could blame them?
Democratic institutions not only functioned but were put into effect before the advent of recorded or transmitted audio and video. Mass media has already been distorting the truth for over a century.
"Trust nothing you read online" becoming commonplace is something to be celebrated!
This is in fact happening, to everyone's benefit. Only in matters of vague mass policy (do we need giant walls? can markets sell health?) has it been largely corrupted by corporate propaganda. Which is probably not terribly worse than before. That scale has always been a big enough target to make it worth the effort to corrupt.
Right now, faking an interview via real-time 3d rendering plus capture of facial expressions would cost a ton of money. So anyone trying to do so would need (for e.g. to damage a competitor's reputation) both deep pockets and something valuable to gain from it (and would need to factorize the cost of getting caught, etc).
If this tech goes mainstream in the future, the cost would be so low that I can imagine some nasty things happening.
Hopefully there will be ways to detect this as this technique is further explored, so I'm not saying it's a "catastrophic development", but it certainly made me think more than just "oh wow, this is very neat!", which it also did by the way. It's incredible the kind of things researchers are able to achieve.
On the other hand, there's a difference between being doubtful something is real, and being aware that people speaking in public have an agenda, and a large portion will utilize half-truths and lies more often than not.
The difference between "the President lied about WMDs and got thousands killed over it", and "maybe the president didn't actually say that - archive footage might be false".
Just like (to pick a hopefully safely historical example) no president would record himself conspiring to perform illegal activities?
With such power, if all it takes is one douchebag to cause massive harm very quickly, then you should also believe it is possible for person to do massive good very quickly.
I'm not sure that applies for this technology. What massive good could be done by making a fake video of someone talking?
Aside from the negative or comedy use cases, I could see this being used in video games, and probably other similar applications for narratives; based on the methodology it sounds near trivial to sync it up to any audio. Really incredible work -- love seeing this kind of research, which I've been much more exposed to doing while gamedev than I ever had been when doing web/app dev.
what is old is new again
In the future, when the President (or CSPAN, or CNN, or Fox News, or whoever) releases a segment (which they do all the time), they'll need to release (in a public, 'timestamped' way) a cryptographic checksum of the content.
I have many of the same fears as people here about future fake news, where the reality of something already comes as a distant second behind the outrage produced. So even if we had this big pile of content and checksums, the outrage echo chambers will still be going nuts.
But it's at least a partial technical solution to these problems.
(And I'm glossing over all kinds of other complications too, such as 'what format' and 'where does it get stored' etc etc)
Although I think to some extent he relies on fragmented speech. It's all about emotional pattern recognition, rather than something that people engage with rationally. Tony Blair also tended to do this, with long verbless sentences.
Hold on, I'm going to try to find the article.
edit: well, the only source I can find after a quick search is this post on an anonymous message board, but it covers the main points pretty well: http://img.4plebs.org/boards/pol/image/1479/14/1479145599055...
a more detailed discussion is here: http://archive.4plebs.org/pol/thread/98690960/
Really??? That's rich coming from /pol
Politics aside, I think it is amazing that anyone would vote for the guy - I suppose it indicates how great a distance there is between the average voter and the average politician, if most can't seem to tell the difference between those that are able to string together coherent sentences and paragraphs, and those that don't.
Seems like the kind of verbal structure that the puzzle-minded among HN might actually enjoy piecing together actually!
Imagine a world where a service exists to which you can upload a dozen images of someone, along with a voice clip. In response, it can generate all kinds of videos--from the benign, to the person saying horrible racist things, to the person starring in graphic pornography.
It seems technically feasible in the medium term. But how do we react to it? Strict limits on the production or storage of these pseudo-artifacts? Criminal penalties for distribution? A cultural rejection of pretty much all video and audio evidence?
Fake news is going to reach a fever pitch when "speeches" of Obama leak saying, "We have to take all the white people's guns". And conversely, when a genuine "grab 'em by the pussy" leaks again, a huge chunk of people willfully will not believe it.
Seems possible that we could come up with technological and journalistic solutions, given enough time, but it's moving too quickly.
Soon, video and audio of an event or speech be proof of anything.
The only way to prove identity will be to have a device which can do challenge-response.
Without it, you won't be able to prove you're not a robot over the internet.
Forget "hacking elections". A botnet will be able to hack our trust in one another (see CIA reputational attacks), AI will be used to chat up girls online better than any person (see fb AI sales bots), and so on.
Computers can already beat us at Chess, Go, etc. How much different is humor, honor and reputation once companies add one more breakthrough to deep learning to model them?
An attacker that can make 100,000 jokes a second each of which is excellent? The missing breakthrough is how to automate the "human judging" factor. This is the problem when figuring out diets or treatments etc. Clinical trials take a long time. Same with textbooks.
Once we figure out how to speed that part up, we are going to be able to make AI that knows what's probably going to be funny ahead of time.
Speaking of which, the notion that one can possess irrefutable audio-visual evidence of an event is also a very recent one. Until the 19th century absolutely any news item traveled word-of-mouth (or ink) through trust networks and were absolutely subject to manipulation.
I am not sure that that distinction is really gone.
I find it especially difficult to differentiate a meaningful distinction between the two when my interactions with people go from in person to online or vice versa. We just do the same stuff we did normally, albeit maybe those things occur in different settings such as at a computer instead of face to face at a restaurant or wherever.
More technology demos should have unscripted, sincere reactions like that.
I'd agree with you if you scratched like that.
See here for an opinion on this demonstration: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13002787
When technology to fake things is everywhere, maybe we'll pay for accurate newspapers again. With something other than our willingness to be manipulated by advertising.
We didn't pay for them before, how could we do so again? Advertisers have always been the main funding for newspapers and sensationalism (clickbait before clicks) and propaganda have always been major influences on the medium.
Sure, things got worse for decades leading up to the arrival of internet news, and continued to get worse after that, but the golden age of readers footing the bill for accurate newspapers never happened.
I don't know anything about the history of news; do you have any good reading material to recommend?
"A person said something? That's terrible... let me see for myself what he actually said... oh wait he said that in completely different context and didn't mean what was implied in the news at all." - Anyone who has checked primary source after reading a news article
We are no longer at the mercy of "journalists" to tell us what to think about what happened. They can be called out on their lies and misrepresentation as the same raw videos of what happened can be seen by people first-hand. How about asking person in question to clarify what they meant? We can do that too.
The news organizations, as a defense, have been publishing the "news" as "opinion pieces", "satire" and "comedy" which they can more easily walk back on when called out.
All this because they have an old population who hasn't figured out that one can actually be their own journalist a lot of the times by following people who are much closer to different sides of situation than "journalists" will ever be... and the reported news is ALWAYS a completely different version of what actually happened. When this population dies out, the mainstream fake news as we know it, will die with them.
Future looks grim!
Basically, we now have the video version of this graph. It came a little later than Photoshop, but as with any technology, anything that is technology possible will be implemented by somebody at some point in the future.
Yours is an interesting idea, though. I dread to think how much it would have to exclude though - probably have no Android client because I'm sure a rooted phone could easily provide a fake video source. Maybe even on a jailbroken iOS device too. And once that becomes possible the entire platform is ruined.
An example from all of history: (This is only semi-serious, but felt like a good thought experiment).
> Oligarch to politician - "Make this economic change."
> Politician to team - "Give me post-facto justification for this change I am making." aka "Spin this"
> Team - Applies economics to numbers
> Team to politician - "Here you go."
> Politician to people - "Economics does not lie."
> Vaunted economics publications - "Sold. And thanks for the like."
> Economic failure
> Future politician - "Well, we just didn't know then what we know now."
> Historian of the future - "Their economic calculations lacked the full set of economic forces and incentives. The economists of the time were in effect hand-waving because they ignored a fundamental economic force--the oligarch. Given the size of the oversight, I'd say they were complicit."
--Economic policy sold without disclosure (or even acknowledgement) of these massive forces is knowingly flawed, and a willing lie to handle people.
--Economic theory is rooted in psychology. When an economic decision is spun to cover hidden motives, the psychological motive basis of that instance of economics is, by definition, false.
--Data can still fool good economists when it is cherry-picked; any data produced by a non-omniscient process is going to be flawed to some extent.
* This is not to say anything good or bad about oligarchs. Merely that they are a tremendous force, and economics, political policy, and civil discussion could greatly improve with a more accurate model of their effect on global systems.
* I'd love to see an economic modeling tool able to place "black boxes" where market distortions are occurring due to probable hidden forces. Captive markets are a real nuisance.
I'm not sure how but perhaps this could actually improve the issue of fake news with or least the assimilation if there as a broader realization how easily things can be faked... probably not though (I'm eternally an optimist).
What if someone is filmed doing something wrong?
They wouldn't sign it, and anyone could just say the footage was faked.
From now on, it could be plausible to deny a video and say someone built a neural net and faked it - 'at least I have no recollection of those events.' (The excuse will work for supporters)
The Mitt Romney's '47% are takers' could go down historically as the last great leak where leaks could be believed.
“Use the force, Harry” – Gandalf
This is the wrong way to think about this, I think. Think of media consumers, instead, as Bayesians. We have prior beliefs, we consume media, and our posterior beliefs are a function of both of those. As the process iterates over time, our priors are updated, but more slowly over time.
This is why children believe everything they hear from authority figures, while those with memories e.g. tend to doubt the offered justifications for the new war when we consider how similar they are to the previously-offered-but-eventually-disproved justifications for the previous wars.
The only solution to this is a education towards knowledge masochism. Destroy what you believe in, only in failure there is truth.
I think we've gone past this point already.
And high quality entertainment.
Ain't all bad.
E: maybe dubbing foreign films could work better
by William Hertling
Seems it was closer to non-fiction than I expected.
It was Darknet by Mathew Mather.
We're going to need signed videos...