Friday, March 08, 2024

Caveat Emptor

Groucho Marx used to quip, "Who you gonna believe -- me or your own eyes?" These days, believing what you see with your own eyes can be problematic. Consider this story from The Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) — At first glance, images circulating online showing former President Donald Trump surrounded by groups of Black people smiling and laughing seem nothing out of the ordinary, but a look closer is telling.

Odd lighting and too−perfect details provide clues to the fact they were all generated using artificial intelligence. The photos, which have not been linked to the Trump campaign, emerged as Trump seeks to win over Black voters who polls show remain loyal to President Joe Biden.

The fabricated images, highlighted in a recent BBC investigation, provide further evidence to support warnings that the use of AI−generated imagery will only increase as the November general election approaches. Experts said they highlight the danger that any group — Latinos, women, older male voters — could be targeted with lifelike images meant to mislead and confuse as well as demonstrate the need for regulation around the technology.

In a report published this week, researchers at the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate used several popular AI programs to show how easy it is to create realistic deepfakes that can fool voters. The researchers were able to generate images of Trump meeting with Russian operatives, Biden stuffing a ballot box and armed militia members at polling places, even though many of these AI programs say they have rules to prohibit this kind of content.

The center analyzed some of the recent deepfakes of Trump and Black voters and determined that at least one was originally created as satire but was now being shared by Trump supporters as evidence of his support among Blacks.

Another reminder of something that has always been true: What really matters is the sources we choose for our information.

Image: The Daily Beast


zoombats said...

I saw that photo the other day on a website "Crooks and Liars" and in their humorous way noted his "Chicken fingers" gave it away as a fake. More seriously though as I sit here in my winter temporary abode of rural Illinois I can't help being concerned by the "Maga mob gullibles" that I encounter everyday. On a fresher note Biden hit it out of the park last night in his State of the Union. One can only hope.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, zoombats. One can only hope.

Northern PoV said...

"Biden hit it out of the park last night"

I'll take your word for it Zoombats ... but the 'liberal' media is not telling it like that.

The NYT ("nervous Democrats') and WAPO front pages do not reflect this sentiment today and a few days ago, instead of covering the Donald's dementia, obvious in his 'speeches', they published push-polls about Biden's age.

Owen Gray said...

My impression, PoV, is that Biden is getting lots of praise for the speech.

William Schmitt said...

Two thoughts, Biden is getting good press from his most excellent, combative, and as factual as one can get, in a political campaign. Even Lankford, one of my OK senators, nodded in agreement over the failed immigration bill. And secondly, the tRump people know there’s a sucker born every minute.

Owen Gray said...

Trump has built his life around the assumption there's a sucker born every minute, William. Let's hope Biden can convince enough Americans -- in the key states -- not to be suckers.

Trailblazer said...

I think AI is much more nefarious than a photoshopped image.
We live where a well meaning speech can be produced as totally counter to it's original form.
The advertisements that appear on your screen can be political statements in disguise.
We have a long way to go to understand the effects of this scourge.


Owen Gray said...

It is a scourge, TB. And, therefore, it's very dangerous.