Richard DeVaul Warns of Deepfake Danger

What Is a Deepfake?

Deepfakes are the result of powerful AI and image manipulation technology. Deepfakes are the use of these technologies to alter a person’s face and body in a recording to make them appear like someone else. This technique can be used maliciously to slander someone by making them appear to say or do things they didn’t do, or to spread misinformation from a seemingly credible source.

Richard DeVaul’s Warning

Richard DeVaul noticed the technique being used more in different industries and by different groups. For instance, a recent documentary about the life and death of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain includes a deepfake of his voice reading several sentences that he wrote, but never recorded. This use of deepfake technology in a documentary is evidence of the increasingly broad adoption of the technique.

Richard DeVaul wonders if a deepfake of something that was written by a person, but never said by them, can be considered the truth.

Further application of the technology could allow for powerful misinformation and propaganda. For instance, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin used a small army of censors to remove his political enemies from pictures. If someone like Stalin had access to deepfakes, they could potentially distort history enough to fool anyone. The spread of this technology could create a world where separating truth from lies is nearly impossible.

DeVaul says the only way to prevent this outcome is to empower journalism and strengthen documentation standards.

Who Is Richard DeVaul?

In an article entitled “Richard DeVaul on Disrupting Innovation Consulting”, Richard DeVaul explains Innovation is about overturning the existing order of things. And while innovation does create great value in the world, that process is not benign. Innovation disrupts.

Richard is a research scientist and former project leader at Google with decades of experience in engineering, operations, and executive leadership. He has over 70 patents and is the author of numerous peer-reviewed papers. He holds a M.S. and a Ph.D. from MIT where he was a Toshiba Fellow.

He wants us to use “Deep Learning” to teach computers how to most effectively interact with humans. Richard DeVaul is the director of MIT Media Lab’s new Interaction Design Group, where he researches ways to create seamless interactions between humans and digital interfaces. Richard has had several breakthroughs in his careers, such as helping develop Google Earth VR and Microsoft HoloLens. Go to this page for additional information.


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