Synthetic Manipulated Media (Part II)

This post purpose is to hold a mirror up to the current landscape and point to some of the information, discussions and positions being put forth.  It will also start to make clear the parts that allow for a perfect storm to form.

In reading through the amazing work addressing synthetic manipulated media (using all three terms until a proper descriptor emerges)  There are some comprehensive discussions and deep dives taking place.

Betaworks always digging into our next digital destination had a discussion “A Session at betaworks Studios Hosted by John Borthwick & Vivian Schiller”  They have posted the deck used to drive the discussion  I am sorry to have missed this session and will be sure and keep an eye out  and not miss the next one. John and Vivian’s attention to this can only benefit us all.

There are also solution scenarios being modeled.  

Specifically the excellent work from by Sam Gregory from Witness in a series of blogs on the emerging and potential malicious uses of so-called “deepfakes” and other forms of AI-generated “synthetic media” and how we push back to defend evidence, the truth and freedom of expression. The first in the blog series can be accessed here.

When I saw Mr Gregory speak he was comprehensive in scope and very balanced in the view ahead.  When he polled the room on where we all stood from; fear -to – ‘everything’s fine’. I was towards the fear end of the line. (no shocker there). However at the end when we all regrouped our positions after his talk,  there was more center clustering. When we pushed the timeline out ten years – the edges disappeared.

So one area of immediate focus might be the short term window between capability now and a needed constructive framework.  How do we avoid the destructive aspects of this type of media in this gap.

My concern is this: synthetic manipulated media comes at a time when several other capabilities and behaviors are all hitting critical mass and the alignment of all these in the wrong hands is dangerous.

Some of these digital environmental and human conditions include:

  • Cultural tribalism
  • Psychographic targeting
  • Media literacy/human receptivity
  • Synthetic manipulated media
  • Social networks
  • Swam behaviors