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Fake video threatens to rewrite history. Here’s how to protect it

Fast Company: “Since deepfakes burst onto the scene a few years ago, many have worried that they represent a grave threat to our social fabric. Creators of deepfakes use artificial intelligence-based neural network algorithms to craft increasingly convincing forgeries of video, audio, and photography almost as if by magic. But this new technology doesn’t just threaten our present discourse. Soon, AI-generated synthetic media may reach into the past and sow doubt into the authenticity of historical events, potentially destroying the credibility of records left behind in our present digital era. In an age of very little institutional trust, without a firm historical context that future historians and the public can rely on to authenticate digital media events of the past, we may be looking at the dawn of a new era of civilization: post-history. We need to act now to ensure the continuity of history without stifling the creative potential of these new AI tools…But in a world where information flows through social media faster than fact-checkers can process it, this disinformation sows enough doubt among those who don’t understand how the technology works (and apathy among those who do) to destroy the shared cultural underpinnings of society—and trust in history itself. Even skeptics allow false information to slip through the cracks when it conveniently reinforces their worldview. This is the age of post-history: a new epoch of civilization where the historical record is so full of fabrication and noise that it becomes effectively meaningless. It’s as if a cultural singularity ripped a hole so deeply in history that no truth can emerge unscathed on the other side…”

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