Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been advancing rapidly. If we go back only a few years, the number of people familiar with artificial intelligence was around 17 percent.
How Easy Can AI Blur the Boundaries Between Reality and Fiction?
Ever since the release of multiple AI tools such as ChatGPT and Reply.io, the general public was introduced to what these tools can achieve, how powerful they can be, and how dangerous they can become if they fall into the wrong hands.
According to ExpressVPN’s study, AI tools can be used to create and manipulate content that blurs the boundaries between what is real and what is not, and they can even change how we think and memorize events.
AI can change the boundaries between reality and fiction through so-called deepfakes. This technology is created and trained based on extensive data of images, videos, or audio recordings of a particular person, usually public personas, such as celebrities or politicians.
The AI algorithm analyses this data and learns how to recognize patterns, such as facial expressions or voice inflections.
After completing the comprehensive analysis, it can create new images or videos that are highly realistic and very difficult to distinguish from an actual video or photo.
The target of deepfakes can be anyone, but it is now more frequent that the main targets are politicians and celebrities, i.e., well-known people.
This was the case in 2018 when a fake video of Barack Obama circulated on the internet where he called Donald Trump a “total and complete dips**it.” This video was, of course, fake.
Another way AI technology can be used to manipulate the boundaries of reality is by creating chatbots. They have become more popular over the last couple of years. Most people are using chatbots to provide significant benefits for businesses and users alike.
They can handle many customer inquiries and provide instant responses, improving customer satisfaction. Chatbots can also serve in a variety of other applications, such as mental health support, language learning, or personal assistants.
However, chatbots can mimic actual people with their unique personalities and preferences, making them act like real human beings. These scenarios can have a negative impact on online communication.
One example of how chatbots can be used to manipulate reality is by spreading disinformation or propaganda to control public opinion.
It is important for people to know and differentiate when they are speaking to a real person and when they are communicating with chatbots that have generated replies.
To make the matter more serious, cybercriminals are aware of all these AI tools and the possibility to scam people by using them.
Many people in the United States have reported that they have received phone calls from a close relative asking them to wire money to a random bank account in a way that it’s hard to get the money back afterward.
In a recent tweet in January of 2023, ElevenLabs, a company known for their text-to-voice AI services, tweeted: “We also see an increasing number of voice cloning misuse cases.”
In another instance, there was a report in the U.S. where a mother received a deepfake call from her daughter, telling her that she had been kidnapped and the amount of money needed to get her back. Her daughter was at home during that call, unaware of the situation.
Using the latest AI technology can positively and negatively impact humankind. Many CEOs from the tech world suggest pausing the rapid development of AI until some regulations are put in power. Tech leaders ask for at least six months, citing “profound risks to society and humanity.”
It’s important that we remain vigilant about the potential for misuse and take steps to ensure that AI is used ethically and responsibly since this technology can quickly impact our boundaries between reality and fiction.