Sometimes it’s not the headline that should cause concern, but the text. Lately I have been doing quite a bit of research in the area of Cyber Influence. So when I saw an article “New research generates deepfake video from a single picture” (see: http://bit.ly/2WAlyse, which is also a photo source), I was naturally intrigued.
Apparently, it is relatively easy to create a fake video of a subject when there is a great deal of footage of that subjects. This is the case of “creepy video amalgams of Donald Trump and Nick Cage”(see: http://bit.ly/2JK3wxN, another photo source)
This technique would seem to work most of the time from a PSYOP perspective since government leaders are often a subject and in the case of ‘generic’ images, file photos or other widely available material would be a good source.
However, this particular article concerns a technique that the Samsung AI research team (more about this in a moment) called “one-shot learning. In essence faces have key features or landmarks which the software “can then use as anchors when creating deepfake videos of new targets”. If you are a real geek and are interested in the details, you can check out their paper “Few-Shot Adversarial Learning of Realistic Neural Talking Head Models” at http://bit.ly/2I45OEI, another photo source.
Talk of technology is all well and good and should be noted and understood. However, what I found to be the most interesting aspect of the article was the note in passing “Samsung Research’s Moscow-based AI lab”
Samsung of course is a Korean chaebol or family-controlled companies. You can learn more about “Money, Power and Family” in a NY Times Feb. 17, 2017 article which you can find at: https://nyti.ms/2YSHFrr (another photo source).
As a Brooklyn born, former Military Intelligence Officer who is also an attorney, I’m a bit skeptical by nature, so it struck me as rather interesting that the team publicly exploring and reporting on this kind of research is based in a nation state (Russia) that is well known for using cyber influence to impact other nations in a variety of ways.
If this is their public information, one wonders what is being held back. There is also the ever-present money motivation of global for profit organizations – will they sell their technology to anyone? Is that appropriate given the intended use? Looks Cyber Influence is the digital wild west out there.
Reader comments also invited.