Let’s Fake International News

Herb Dempsey

Everyone has heard…

Well maybe not everyone, but at least enough of the public has heard that news for the last couple of election cycles has been effectively faked on available social media, including newspapers, that there appears to be a general mistrust of methods and sourcing that we have an approaching credibility crisis.

The crisis is here. One of the sources of standardized Artificial Intelligence (AI) as the monster progresses through its developmental stages is Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s, Technology Review.  According to Karen Hao, "you can train AI to fake United Nations (UN) speeches in just 13 hours."

Following the leads in Hao’s article leads the reader back to the work of two researchers, Joseph Bullock and Miguel Luengo-Oroz, and that incredible conclusion. Not only can this project be done, but it took 13 hours and $7.80 to accomplish a credible fake. What they did was use nothing but readily available, open-source, information a readily available language model trained on text from Wikipedia to study all the speeches given by UN political leaders between 1970 and 2015. These results were fed into the cloud and the resources translated by the programming could then produce fake news speeches allegedly created by any virtual official chosen.

Earlier this year the background material for discussion of the actual algorithm was thoroughly reviewed by Will Knight with details and fake output it’s pretty much inescapable. According to Jack Clark, policy director at OpenAI, "We started testing it, and quickly discovered it’s possible to generate malicious-esque content quite easily," says Jack Clark, policy director at OpenAI.