Monday, May 28, 2018

Blinding the Mind

Before long, if you want to remain connected to reality you may have to work for it.

We're already up to our alligators in fake news, sometimes by liars who label real news "fake news." You know who I mean and not just him either.

We're not built to handle change. Ask any flight surgeon. Human physiology is not suited to flight, especially high performance flight. Our respiratory system isn't equipped for it. Our pulmonary system isn't up to its demands. It can affect the functioning of vital organs. The more demanding the flying the more life support systems are needed, the failure of any one of which can end badly.

Now our minds are falling behind technology. Imagine if you couldn't discern black from white or up from down? Well that's sort of what's coming from the relentless advance of technology and, especially, artificial intelligence. From

Thanks to bigger data, better algorithms, and custom hardware, in the coming years, individuals around the world will increasingly have access to cutting-edge artificial intelligence. From health care to transportation, the democratization of AI holds enormous promise. 
Yet as with any dual-use technology, the proliferation of AI also poses significant risks. Among other concerns, it promises to democratize the creation of fake print, audio, and video stories. Although computers have long allowed for the manipulation of digital content, in the past that manipulation has almost always been detectable

A fake image would fail to account for subtle shifts in lighting, or a doctored speech would fail to adequately capture cadence and tone. However, deep learning and generative adversarial networks have made it possible to doctor images and video so well that it’s difficult to distinguish manipulated files from authentic ones. And thanks to apps like FakeApp and Lyrebird, these so-called “deep fakes” can now be produced by anyone with a computer or smartphone. Earlier this year, a tool that allowed users to easily swap faces in video produced fake celebrity porn, which went viral on Twitter and Pornhub.

Deep fakes and the democratization of disinformation will prove challenging for governments and civil society to counter effectively. Because the algorithms that generate the fakes continuously learn how to more effectively replicate the appearance of reality, deep fakes cannot easily be detected by other algorithms — indeed, in the case of generative adversarial networks, the algorithm works by getting really good at fooling itself. To address the democratization of disinformation, governments, civil society, and the technology sector therefore cannot rely on algorithms alone, but will instead need to invest in new models of social verification, too. 
At the same time as artificial technology and other emerging technologies mature, legacy platforms will continue to play an outsized role in the production and dissemination of information online. For instance, consider the current proliferation of disinformation on Google, Facebook, and Twitter. 
A growing cottage industry of search engine optimization (SEO) manipulation provides services to clients looking to rise in the Google rankings. And while for the most part, Google is able to stay ahead of attempts to manipulate its algorithms through continuous tweaks, SEO manipulators are also becoming increasingly savvy at gaming the system so that the desired content, including disinformation, appears at the top of search results.
Could it be that the net will become so corrupted that the only reliable source of news and information will again come from ink and newsprint? Will the internet be abandoned to the horde and those who prey on them?


Lorne said...

That is a truly disturbing post, Mound. But will people come to the realization of the dangers of such technology, so almost completely reliant on it they have become?

The Mound of Sound said...

I have trouble imagining that many people are clamoring something better.

Anonymous said...

Please Oh Lord save our corporate news! Save us from the demon hordes who challenge the corporate truth. I know corporations would never lie to me. The corporations told me so!

The Corporation is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
It makes me lie down in green pastures,
It leads me beside quiet waters,
Down the garden path
To the abattoir.

The Mound of Sound said...

Well, Anon, I think you have very elegantly captured the problem. Thank you for that. Thank you very much.

Tal Hartsfeld said...

Modern-day folk legends:
The AI (and their high-tech manipulators) who cried "Wolf!" (and other things)