Now that the mainstream media has caught onto the whole AI Deep Fake thing (New Yorker - In the Age of A.I., Is Seeing Still Believing, The Atlantic – The Era of Fake Video Begins, New York Times - Will Deep-Fake Technology Destroy Democracy?) we now have a new Deep Fake type threat to contend with.
Researchers at Elon Musk-backed OpenAI recently announced they had created an Artificial Intelligence-based writing tool that was so good at impersonating humans they no longer want to release it for fear of abuse.
Over at ExtremeTech a recent article opens with a little quip about "your friendly neighborhood fake news writer could be out of job."
OK, but what writers in general?
For that, we will do what humans have always done. Simply not think about it. It's heresy to some anyway. Come on… if we, as a society, can ignore global warming then those of us that are writers can calmly but firmly ignore this threat also.
Why? Because the battle is already lost on this whole deep fake thing until more people are educated on the matter.
The first reason is the fact that we are very short of foot soldiers or any soldiers for that matter. "Boots on the Ground" sounds cool but there are too few boots on too little ground to make any headway.
The realization of what deep fakes can do is simply lost on most people.
It is just not on their radar and this is not a "swipe" at the intelligence of these people. It's simply a statement of fact. The words Deep Fake mean nothing to the general populace and we need more digital soldiers spreading the word.
Secondly… there are tens of thousands of people around the world with the skills and access to the tools to make the future a very interesting place if not a living hell for those caught on the wrong side of Deep Fake extortion.
With the proliferation of YouTube… lots of people have gained digital video skills that could make good or bad money one day with deep fakes.
Thirdly… we are a technologically naïve lot when it comes to this sort of thing. C'mon… think about it. We still have people falling victim to the various "Nigerian Email" scams out there. Folks have lost cars because they didn't make payments and instead sent money overseas to bring a "bride" home and much worse.
Deep Fakes are so much more than any of this.
It's not hard to visualize in the future a "Society of Deep Fake Sleuths" or a government Deep Fake Bureau one day.
Nor is it hard to imagine that both foreign and domestic intelligence agencies don't have their own bureaus with at least decades or more of Deep Fake type experience under their belts. You don't have to be Tom Clancy to imagine the bad things these folks can unleash.
There might even be a Deep Fake writing genre one day with both human and AI writers.
So, what's the big deal about releasing this AI driven tool that writes as good or better than you or me?
Well if it was to well-intentioned researchers then that is one thing but… and this where the technologically naïve part comes in… if we release it to the general public, in the wild for everyone to tinker with, then the problem may become insurmountable.
Brilliant little Johnny down the block deep fake texted a girl he has a crush on with a deep fake video of her current boyfriend kicking puppies, pulling the wings off butterflies and kissing her best friend.
And these are just the kids.
On the upside of all this… if I can just get my hands on this little beast or a variant thereof… my editors will never know where my future articles really come from.
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord, is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director, and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. Now retired, M.D. is currently working part-time on writing and select character development projects. You can learn more about MD on his website.