Deepfake State

Congress is worried that deepfakes, or computer-generated videos that depict people saying or doing things that never happened, could severely disrupt the 2020 presidential campaign, the Washington Post reports.

The House Intelligence Committee has scheduled a hearing today to discuss the problem with AI experts. But many other experts in the field are worried that the U.S. is not ready for a deepfake invasion.

"We are outgunned," Hany Farid, computer-science professor at the University of California at Berkeley, told the Post. "The number of people working on the video-synthesis side, as opposed to the detector side, is 100 to 1."

While they have made some progress trying to come up with simple tools that could spot a deepfake and separate them from the real thing, they still have a long way to go.

And the prognosis is grim: a report by Axios found that not a single 2020 presidential campaign candidate can point to measures they’ve taken to prevent the spread of this potentially-dangerous media.


The news comes after the spread of a video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that had been tampered with to make her appear drunk. Earlier this month, the video mysteriously disappeared from Facebook.

Adam Schiff (D-CA), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Thursday, "I don’t think we’re well prepared at all. And I don’t think the public is aware of what’s coming. There’s no end to the pernicious abuse of this technology."

So far, the federal government has not passed any laws or legal framework that tries to reign in the spread of deepfakes. But as with many other political issues in the U.S., fears of government overreach and the perceived threat to the First Amendment might slow down efforts to make deepfakes illegal.

READ MORE: Top AI researchers race to detect ‘deepfake’ videos: ‘We are outgunned’ [The Washington Post]

More on deepfakes: Report: 2020 Candidates Are Going to Get Owned by Deepfakes

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