What is Deepfakes ? A Serious Digital Threat | UPSC

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IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 29th Oct 2020

“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” – Aristotle

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020-21.

EDITORIAL HUNT #214 :“What is Deepfakes ? A Serious Digital Threat | UPSC

What is Deepfakes ? A Serious Digital Threat | UPSC

Ashish Jaiman
What is Deepfakes ? A Serious Digital Threat | UPSC

Ashish Jaiman is the Director of Technology and Operations in the Customer Security and Trust organization at Microsoft, focusing on the Defending Democracy Program

      HEADLINES:

Countering deepfakes, the most serious AI threat

      CENTRAL THEME:

It is crucial to enhance media literacy, meaningful regulations and platform policies, and amplify authoritative sources

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Artificial Intelligence

      MAINS QUESTION:

What is Deepfakes AI ? . Discuss how this technology can influence election , manipulate identities and ultimately undermine the democracy .-(GS 3)

      LEARNING: 

  • What is Deepfakes
  • Spreading Misinformation
  • Undermining Democracy
  • Way Forward

      INTRODUCTION: 

  • MODERN POLARISATION : Disinformation and hoaxes are to high stake warfare for creating social discord, increasing polarisation also ; influencing an election outcome.
  • COMPUTATIONAL PROPAGANDA : Deepfakes (fake videos or audio recordings) are a new tool to spread disinformation at scale and with speed.

Access to commodity cloud computing, algorithms, and abundant data has created a perfect storm to democratise media creation and manipulation.

  • SYSTEMIC MANIPULATION : Deepfakes are the digital media (video, audio, and images) manipulated using Artificial Intelligence.This synthetic media content is referred to as deepfakes .

What is a deepfake ?

SOURCES : CNBC.COM

      BODY: 

A CYBER FRANKENSTEIN

  • SKY IS THE LIMIT : Synthetic media can create possibilities and opportunities for all people, regardless of who they are, where they are, and how they listen, speak, or communicate.
  • QUICK ALTERATIONS : It can give people a voice, purpose, and ability to make an impact at scale and with speed .
  • MISUSE : As with any new innovative technology, it can be weaponised to inflict harm.
  • DIGITAL FALLACY : Deepfakes, hyper-realistic digital falsification, can inflict damage to individuals, institutions, businesses and democracy.

They make it possible to fabricate media — swap faces, lip-syncing, and puppeteer — mostly without consent disrupting economies ,business and reputation.

  • ROLE OF NATION-STATE ACTORS : Ideological believers, violent extremists etc can manipulate media narratives using deepfakes.

TARGETING WOMEN

  • DEFAMATION AND VIOLENCE : The very first use of a deepfake was seen in pornography, inflicting emotional, reputational, and also violence towards the individual.
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL HARM : Pornographic deepfakes can threaten, intimidate and reduce women to sexual objects.
  • ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOURS : Deepfake pornography exclusively targets women . Deepfakes can depict a person indulging in antisocial behaviours and saying vile things.
  • SEVERE IMPLICATIONS : These can have severe implications on their reputation, sabotaging their professional and personal life.

SPREADING DISTRUST

  • VIRAL IN NATURE : Even if the victim could debunk the fake via an alibi or otherwise, it may come too late to remedy the initial harm.
  • VICTIMISATION : Malicious actors can take advantage of unwitting individuals to defraud them for financial gains using audio and video deepfakes.
  • EXTORTION BUSINESS : Deepfakes can be deployed to extract money, confidential information, or exact favours from individuals.
  • SHORT MEMES : Deepfakes can cause short- and long-term social harm and accelerate the already declining trust in news media.
  • FACTUAL RELATIVISM : Such an erosion can contribute to a culture of factual relativism, fraying the increasingly strained civil society fabric.
  • SHARING PROSPECTS : Falsity is profitable, and goes viral more than the truth on social platforms.

Combined with distrust, the existing biases and political disagreement can help create echo chambers and filter bubbles, creating discord in society.

  • COMMUNAL CHAOS : A deepfake could act as a powerful tool by a nation-state to undermine public safety and create uncertainty and chaos in the target country.
  • HATE SPEECHES : It can be used by insurgent groups and terrorist organisations, to represent their adversaries as making inflammatory speeches or engaging in provocative actions to stir up anti-state sentiments among people.

UNDERMINING DEMOCRACY

  • UNDERMINING TRUST : A deepfake can also aid in altering the democratic discourse and undermine trust in institutions and impair diplomacy.
  • FALSE INFORMATION :About institutions, public policy, and politicians powered by a deepfake can be exploited to spin the story and manipulate belief.
  • RIGGING ELECTIONS : A well-executed one, a few days before polling, of a political candidate spewing out racial epithets or indulging in an unethical act can damage their campaign.

There may not be enough time to recover even after effective debunking.Voters can be confused and elections can be disrupted.
 

  • MISINFORMATION OVERLOADED : A high-quality deepfake can inject compelling false information that can cast a shadow of illegitimacy over the voting process and election results.
  • AUTHORITARIAN REGIME : For authoritarians , it is a tool that can be used to justify oppression and disenfranchise citizens.
  • POPULISM SEEDS : Leaders can also use them to increase populism and consolidate power.
  • LOWERING THE VOICES OF MANY : Deepfakes can become a very effective tool to sow the seeds of polarisation, amplifying division in society, and suppressing dissent.

      IASbhai Windup: 

MAJOR SOLUTIONS

  • MULTI-MODAL APPROACH : To defend the truth and secure freedom of expression, we need a multi-stakeholder and multi-modal approach.
  • A PIECE OF LEGISLATION : Collaborative actions across legislative regulations, platform policies, technology intervention, and media literacy can provide effective and ethical countermeasures.
  • COMBATTING DISINFORMATION : Media literacy for consumers and journalists is the most effective tool to combat disinformation and deepfakes.

As consumers of media, we must have the ability to decipher, understand, translate, and use the information we encounter .

  • MEANINGFUL INTERVENTIONSDiscussion with the technology industry, civil society, and policymakers can facilitate disincentivising the creation and distribution of malicious deepfakes.
  • DETECT AND AMPLIFY : We also need easy-to-use and accessible technology solutions to detect deepfakes, authenticate media, and amplify authoritative sources.

To counter the menace of deepfakes, we all must take the responsibility to be a critical consumer of media on the Internet, think and pause before we share on social media, and be part of the solution to this infodemic.

       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | What is Deepfakes ? A Serious Digital Threat | UPSC

 

TRENDING NOW : Important The Hindu Editorials 

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