Witness Lab: 14 Ways Tech for Beating Deepfakes Might Go Wrong
Witness Lab pointed out to potential challenges of using current technological solutions against deepfakes invasion, identifying 14 dilemmas for public discussion in their December report.
While a wide range of entities – from tech giants and startups to government organisations – are developing deepfake-busting technologies, in the Witness Lab’s December report, a nonprofit that studies synthetic media, warns public on how these tools could go wrong. If technical solutions that squeeze content for extracting “true” from “fake” become the norm, it will raise its ”challenges, consequences, and dilemmas,” insist in the Witness Lab.
The 14 dilemmas laid in the report include the issue of tools being used for surveilling people, the problem of inequality in terms of access to technological tools or verification mechanisms, or the new “gatekeepers” problem.
Researchers warned that if implemented without precautions, these tools could give certain companies more power, raise even more data storage, access and ownership questions, further diminishing people’s ways to control their own data. The reports also highlights that in this matter even implementing blockchain everywhere will hardly solve any problems.
Given an example of social media platforms, that might be forced to implement their own technological measures to stop the spread of deepfakes, researchers warn that they might consequently become the platforms that favour large “incumbents and silence many voices”, further damaging the representation of reality in the media.
Moreover, technical solution might not resolve the social issues of misrepresentation of information. While the content in the media can be authentic, it can still be misrepresented, and manipulated. Special ticks like “real video”, or fact-check tags could even further discourage critical mindset.
The pressure will be put not only on social media platforms, or news outlets, but for example on citizens, trying to fight for their rights in the court, as “authenticity infrastructure will both help and hinder access to justice and trust in legal systems,” reads the report.
Witness program director Sam Gregory admits that non profit is not offering any easy solution to the problem, since there could be none, yet he believes it is even possible to build synthetic media tools in more ethical way. In this report Witness Lab also proposes 12 ways for proactive actions, including the promotion of ethical standards, supporting research, or prioritising shared detection systems.