With the onset of AI-powered technologies like DeepFakes – which can generate synthesized media with amazing realism – it is of utmost importance to consider the holistic impact of such technologies on national security and democracy. It is equally important to question the usage of AI in building lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) by military and defense organizations around the world, and potentially serious consequences of doing so on our society. In this article, we discuss these critical aspects of AI from different viewpoints.
DeepFakes and Their Impact
- DeepFake video used by a Flemish Social Party in Belgium to influence national elections in 2018,
- New Year’s address by President of African nation Gabon, labeled as DeepFake by the opposition, sparked a (failed) military coup in the country,
- Doctored video of Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, falsely making her appear drunk at a news conference (video tweeted by President Donald Trump, and spread widely by his supporters), and
- Numerous pornographic DeepFake videos of women and even children, aimed at degrading and dehumanizing vulnerable sections of our society.
AI and Lethal Autonomous Weapons System (LAWS)
AI can be a boon to our society in a myriad of ways, and there is no doubt that its effective utilization can make our society better and safer for everyone. However, it can also be put to adverse use, especially from the security perspective, that could lead to serious consequences for national as well as global security. The need to act faster on issues like LAWS and DeepFakes has never been greater before. As the UN chief said, “The world is watching, the clock is ticking and others are less sanguine. I hope [we] prove them wrong.” Let’s hope so too!
Dr. Nidhi Singh is Director of Research at Elisa Corporation in Helsinki. Prior to joining Elisa, she worked with Fortune 500 as well as mid-sized companies for over 15 years in various R&D and leadership roles. Her focus has been on applying AI and machine learning for solving complex, large-scale IT problems in domains like intelligent automation of customer services, online fraud detection in e-commerce, and energy optimisation for data centres. She received her Ph.D in computer science, and has been a reviewer for a number of premier AI conferences and journals.