Advancements in artificial intelligence are poised to usher in a digital hellscape where the line between what’s real and what’s not is so blurred that the very notion of “truth” itself could become meaningless.
This PSA featuring ‘Obama’ saying a series of bizarre things has a twist ending:
It starts off normal enough, with ‘Obama’ saying “We’re entering an era in which our enemies can make it look like anyone is saying anything at any point at time — even if they would never say those things.”
Sounds good so far, right? Then things take a turn…
“So, for instance, they could have me say things like—I don’t know—Killmonger was right! Or, Ben Carson is in the sunken place! Or, how ‘bout this: simply, President Trump is a total and complete dipshit.”
At this point you’ve probably figured out the video is fake (at least I hope so). But the video goes on to reveal the speaker is actually… Get Out director Jordan Peele.
The project was a collaboration between Peele and Buzzfeed to highlight the problem of AI-produced “deep fakes” like this one. By using artificial intelligence to match Obama’s mouth movements with Peele’s voice they produced a slick-looking fake video that could potentially fool people.
It’s not hard to imagine what could happen when advancements in AI make videos like these indistinguishable from authentic ones. Not only would people be able to create deep fakes of incidents that didn’t happen, others would have potential cover to dismiss videos of things that did. Imagine, for example, if a video of Donald Trump entertaining urinating prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room emerges at a time when deep fakes are on the rise. Who do you believe?
Peele ends the video by saying, “How we move forward in the Age of Information is gonna be the difference between whether we survive or whether we become some kind of f-cked up dystopia.”
The answer, according to Buzzfeed and Peele, is to consider the source of the information, to see what other publications are saying about it, and to rely only on reputable sources of news.
In the parting words of ‘Obama’/Peele: “Stay woke, b-tches.”