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News from the Future: Deepfakes + AI War

In this Issue: Thoughts: Darkness vs. LightNow on MIND & MACHINEDeepfakes RisingMilitary AI &
News from the Future | MIND & MACHINE
News from the Future: Deepfakes + AI War
In this Issue:
  • Thoughts: Darkness vs. Light
  • Now on MIND & MACHINE
  • Deepfakes Rising
  • Military AI & Autonomous Weapons
  • Rethinking Who’s Best Suited for Space Travel

Thoughts: Darkness vs. Light
As I was putting this issue together, things were feeling a bit dark between the warnings of the AI documentary film Do You Trust This Computer, the deepfakes segment and the the autonomous weapons segment. I’m generally an overtly optimistic person and I think these technological movements will be making life much better in so many ways. But there’s no escaping the potential dangers that many of these advances present.
In the Q&A at the speaking events and panel moderating I do, the questions from the audience always highlight the double-edged sword of impactful technologies — if the power is concentrated, it can be abused. But if democratized, it can be exploited by bad actors. The same tools can be healthy or exploitive.
Ultimately it’s up to us to shape technology and form the societies we want. In order to do this effectively we have to anticipate how it might be used, for better or for worse. How could connecting the world not be a great thing? Facebook’s mission did not seem controversial up front, now we see it’s a mixed bag. Anticipating what could go wrong is an obligation and an opportunity. By envisioning the potential problems as thoroughly as possible up front, we stand a better chance of avoiding or minimizing them and achieving an optimal outcome.
So with that, let’s look into the darkness (and then end on a more inspiring note)…
Now on MIND & MACHINE
Learning from the AI Documentary "Do You Trust This Computer?"
Learning from the AI Documentary "Do You Trust This Computer?"
Deepfakes Rising
Deepfakes are coming — the ability to use AI to create a video that realistically portrays a person saying or doing anything the creator wants. A lie that looks entirely real, in the medium we most trust… video.
In a political climate where so many already have a hard time telling real news from fake news, this will add fuel to the fire. Never before have media literacy skills been more important, yet the public’s ability to keep inflammatory online content in context is falling woefully behind the tech and bad actors.
How do we combat this? Lawmakers are being more proactive in this area than they have historically been with new technologies — I think this one hits home with politicians in a way other tech has not. They can easily see how it will further corrode trust, and they personally feel vulnerable to such attacks. After increasing foreign meddling in the US, British, French and other recent elections, the danger is immediate. In the end, however, I think this will be no more controllable than photoshopping an image. And our trust in what we see on video will be equally clouded.
Military AI & Autonomous Weapons
We have an interview on the MIND & MACHINE show coming soon with Paul Scharre, author of Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War. It’s approaching the unimaginable trying to comprehend the destructive capability of AI-driven autonomous warfare — we’ve seen what happens to financial markets when automated rapid-fire trading triggers a chain reaction across program trading networks. That kind of chain reaction is another thing entirely in war. But we’ve had unimaginably destructive weapons before that have been contained in large part because of their destructive capability, be it the “mutually assured destruction” principle of the Cold War or treaties governing chemical weapons.
Geopolitical solutions will arise to establish global norms and agreements for AI-driven autonomous weapons, though audits and compliance assessments may be trickier here than with previous mass-destruction capabilities. Interestingly, Paul Scharre indicated in our recent discussion that commanders, pilots and other frontline military personal prefer manned-aircraft and in-person combat to drones and fully autonomous vehicles — there’s an overt pro-human inclination pervasive through the U.S. and western armed forces. The autonomy is largely being implemented for infrastructure and surveillance (so far). That interview will be out soon, until then here’s a great survey of some of the tech being built for war…
AI in Military Drones and UAVs – Current Applications
Why high-tech weapons may be worthless in the wars to come
Rethinking Our Assumptions
I never saw this one coming, but wow is it thought-provoking. Wired makes a compelling case that disabled people are better prepared physically and mentally to be astronauts. Going into an environment that our bodies are not designed for is second nature to these people, and the mental grit at overcoming such challenges has been built up over their entire lives. Definitely worth a read…
It’s Time to Rethink Who’s Best Suited for Space Travel
Heard on Twitter
For artists embracing advanced technology, the tools are getting better and better…
Mark O. Riedl
Major turning point. Last year it was all articles about how “artists are going to lose their jobs to AI” AI can make art. But only with human guidance. AI doesn’t replace human creativity, it supports creativity. https://t.co/W54DO8eU0p
6:26 AM - 1 Feb 2019
Ryan Horrigan
100% agree. AI and its many sub disciplines are gateways to new tools for human creators, not replacements for artists. Human in the loop still required. https://t.co/oUIvqNXj8K
9:23 PM - 1 Feb 2019
That’s all for now, nice to be getting into a rhythm here. See you next week!
Please share this with any future-thinkers you know!

Thoughts or feedback on the newsletter or anything covered within is always welcome, just hit reply. Still figuring out the format, let me know what you like.
-August
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August Bradley (Mind & Machine)

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