birbfakes via YouTube/Victor Tangermann
Fragile Democracy

Pentagon’s AI Director Calls for Stronger Deepfake Protections

byDan Robitzski
8. 30. 19
birbfakes via YouTube/Victor Tangermann

In no uncertain terms, he called deepfakes a threat to national security.

Looming Threat

The head of the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center recently declared that deepfakes pose a very real threat to national security.

Speaking at an AI conference on Thursday, Lt. General Jack Shanahan told the crowd that disinformation tactics, including deepfake videos, could have a serious impact on the upcoming election unless the government seriously invests in ways to counter them, according to C4ISRNET. The warning paints a troubling picture of the future, where democracy and national security could be compromised by convincing, AI-generated media.

Chasing Pixels

DARPA, the Pentagon’s research division, has already spent tens of millions of dollars on anti-deepfake technology. But, as Shanahan notes, trying to catch up with the tech driving these AI-generated videos is a bit of a cat-and-mouse game.

“We saw strong indications of how this could play out in the 2016 election, and we have every expectation that — if left unchecked — it will happen to us again,” Shanahan said at the panel, per C4ISRNET. “As a department, at least speaking for the Defense Department, we’re saying it’s a national security problem as well. We have to invest a lot in it. A lot of commercial companies are doing these every day. The level of sophistication seems to be exponential.”

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Presently, deepfakes are still glitchy and full of errors, but spotting the faults requires people to carefully scrutinize the media they consume — an unfair expectation for the average person scrolling through their news feeds.

READ MORE: How the Pentagon is tackling deepfakes as a national security problem [C4ISRNET]

More on deepfakes: Congress Is Officially Freaking Out About Deepfakes


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