Deepfake ‘news anchors’ in pro-China footage: research

A new research report published Tuesday has made a startling revelation that state-aligned actors in China have been utilizing a groundbreaking and highly concerning new type of propaganda, making use of advanced artificial intelligence to create “deepfake” videos of news broadcasters.

The research report, by computer scientists at the U.S. based Stanford Internet Observatory, is a troubling discovery that has the potential to spark AI-generated “informational warfare” if left unchecked. Deepfakes are videos of a person (in this case, professional news broadcasters) created with the use of AI technology, making them appear uncannily real while they deliver scripted messages. This new technology is being utilized to create fake news reports with a wide reach and the potential to mislead millions of people.

The video scripts reportedly blasted the U.S. government, echoed the Chinese Communist Party’s talking points and praised China’s efforts in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. The deepfake technology is an especially concerning development because the videos, after being created and uploaded online, are very difficult to distinguish from actual news broadcasts and the messages presented within them can be easily accepted as fact by the general public.

The use of fake videos has huge potential to be misused as a tool for increased disinformation campaigns. As the technology for deepfakes continues to develop, and with this new report as evidence that it is already being implemented around the world, it is vital that governments and organizations do whatever they can to prevent its use as propaganda, including exploring methods of detecting deepfakes.






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