Are We Ready for a Post-trust World?

Very few people know that the personal computer was invented by Vietnamese expat Truong Trong Thi in 1973. This year marks the 50th anniversary. Just 50 years on and now we’re grappling with the rise of generative AI and the barrage of changes it is slated to bring.

The dark side of Generative AI

Today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape has led to very valid concerns about the growing erosion of trust in the information we consume. I’m sure you feel the same way. With the increasing accessibility of Generative AI technology, #deepfakes have emerged as a potent threat, challenging our ability to discern fact from fiction. This is as unsettling as the pandemic!

When trust is thrown out of the window

Deepfakes can be used for political manipulation, character assassination, cyberbullying or the dissemination of fake news. Already, many are waiting to see the impact it’ll have on the coming US elections. The erosion of trust has far-reaching consequences. Sadly, we really don’t value what we have until we actually lose it.

The role of truth tools

Is there hope? Well, to mitigate the risks associated with deepfakes, the deployment of truth tools is a must. We need more technology to counter technology. So with machine learning algorithms and image forensics, we can (hopefully sooner rather than later) step into a world where deepfakes can be flagged out immediately.

Research and development in this field should be a top priority and open-source projects and strategic partnerships can facilitate the creation of robust tools to combat deepfakes effectively.

What you and I can do

Truth tools aside, we need a major upgrade in our critical thinking skills. Technology will not fully do the job for us. We need to cultivate the ability to critically evaluate information and discern potential deepfakes. We need to teach this in schools and we need to teach this at home.

Everybody has a part to play

Media organizations and social media platforms are also not exempt from this equation. In fact, they have an enormous ethical responsibility to promote good sharing practices and implement algorithms that prioritize reliable and accurate content. They have such a pervasive influence on our everyday lives!

Lastly, policymakers have the hard job of creating legislation that addresses the malicious use of deepfakes while safeguarding our freedom of expression and creativity. I truly wouldn’t want to be in their shoes.

Essentially, we ALL need to come together – governments, technology companies, and civil society – to be guardians of this precious galaxy we call home.

I hope you feel slightly better now

The threat is real and headlines make it so clear daily. The rise of generative AI and the proliferation of deepfakes can completely erode our invisible trust structures. However, this can be mitigated. By embracing these strategies, we can navigate this evolving landscape and safeguard the foundations of trust in this digital age. We absolutely need to.