Congress takes on ‘deepfake’ videos

National / World

WASHINGTON (NBC News) – Committee Chairman Adam Schiff began the hearing by playing several examples of those so-called “deepfake” videos, which are manipulated using artificial intelligence to look incredibly real.

Last month’s altered video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was also discussed multiple times during the hearing.

“We should have a default rule, platforms should have a default rule, that if we’re gonna have impersonations and manipulation that do not reflect what we’ve done and said, then platforms should once they figure it out take it down,” said Danielle Citron of the University of Maryland School of Law.

The “deepfake” fallout appeared to rattle members of the panel and the committee, who discussed whether or not the Pelosi video shared on Facebook should have been taken down, and the future implications it has on the 2020 election.

“Right now, I would be very worried about someone making a fake video about electoral systems being out, or broken down on Election Day 2020. We should already be building a battle drill, you know a response plan, on how we’d handle that, in the government, in the state governments and in the DHS, as well as the social media companies,” said Clint Watts of the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

As the technology gets more sophisticated detecting deepfakes becomes more difficult, and those with the skill to do it say they’re outgunned.

“There’s a lot more manipulators than there are detectors,” warns Dr. David Doermann of the University at Buffalo’s Artificial Intelligence Institute.

“Over time, if an information consumer doesn’t know what to believe they can’t tell fact from fiction they will either believe everything or nothing at all. If they believe nothing at all, then that leads to apathy, which is destructive to the United States,” Watts added.

Right now, there are no immediate plans to propose a bill that restricts the use of manipulated media and deepfake videos.

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