PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s a constant battle when trying to figure out what’s real and what’s fake on the internet. And now, the Pentagon has a new warning about media manipulation.
We live in the era of Photoshop and auto-tune, but this may go beyond, entering into the realm of national security.
“We’re entering an era where our enemies can make it look like anyone is saying anything at any point in time.”
One video looks like something former President Barack Obama saying something he would likely say, until, “President Trump is a total and complete (expletive).”
That caught some people off guard when Eyewitness News shared it with them.
And it would. The video is an example of what’s called a “deepfake” and it was made by manipulating an old presidential video and mixing it with the voice and facial movements of comedian and director Jordan Peele.
Fear over misinformation and manipulation is why the Pentagon is now working with some of the nation’s top tech firms to red flag these videos with software.
Programmers at SRI International in California are on the job.
“I’m concerned that the tools for making better and better deepfakes are being improved as we speak,” one tech worker said.
“Unless you were told to look for something different, it would be really hard to tell,” Kayla Hiryak of Philadelphia said.
It’s a hurried effort with the 2020 elections looming.
It provides another reminder that in this digital era, nothing can be taken at face value, because that face could be what’s fooling you.
“There are those who would imagine that he would say something like that and wanting that to be the truth,” Philadelphian Pierre Vigilance said.
“If you are just looking at it quickly on YouTube or Facebook or Twitter or something, you’re not going to pay any attention. I think it could easily fool people,” Charrisa Coulibaly said.
According to these research firms, the goal would be to have videos uploaded to social media run through software that could detect these deepfakes before they fool anyone.
For right now, the rule of thumb remains do your own research.