Microsoft Video Authenticator should make it easier to detect deepfakes.
Given how deepfakes are both potentially devastating to someone’s reputation and very hard to spot when done right, they’re a major security concern. Now, Microsoft is aiming to help stop deepfakes by releasing a tool that can detect them.
The Media’s War Against Deepfakes
The threat posed by deepfakes is so substantial, it caused Facebook to ban all deepfake content. However, the biggest obstacle is how deepfakes are made to look convincing; as such, locating and confirming a deepfake is very difficult.
As reported on Microsoft On the Issues, the company wants to change that with its new tool. It’s called the Microsoft Video Authenticator, and it analyzes videos to look for the “seams” left behind from deepfake creation. These seams are invisible to human eyes, but a computer can spot them using frame-by-frame analysis.
To prevent malicious agents from reverse-engineering the technology, Microsoft Video Authenticator won’t be a public release. Instead, Microsoft is distributing its system to news and political organizations. That way, those organizations can use the tool to separate the real from the fake.
However, Microsoft has announced a second technology to identify deepfakes. The company proposes a system where a content creator can tag their videos with a unique “signature.” If the video is edited, it will generate a different signature than the original, thus identifying a deepfake.
The author of Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse, Nina Schick, said the following:
The only really widespread use we’ve seen so far is in non-consensual pornography against women.
But synthetic media is expected to become ubiquitous in about three to five years, so we need to develop these tools going forward.
However, as detection capabilities get better, so too will the generation capability – it’s never going to be the case that Microsoft can release one tool that can detect all kinds of video manipulation.
Leading the Fight Against Fake Media
Deepfakes are a significant problem for media credibility, and companies need a way to tell what’s real from what’s fiction. Microsoft has released a tool to help spot edited videos. However, whether or not the tool will be enough to keep up with deepfake developers is yet to be seen.
If you’re unsure of what deepfakes are and why they matter, it’s definitely worth taking some time to learn about them. Deepfakes are poised to become this decade’s equivalent of “Photoshopping” images and can cause severe damage if used maliciously.
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