In a recent document, the U.S. Special Forces revealed that they want to use deep fakes for psyops in order to assess foreign populations’ susceptibility to propaganda.
U.S. Special Operations Command, responsible for some of the country’s most secretive military endeavors, is gearing up to conduct internet propaganda and deception campaigns online using deep fake videos, according to federal contracting documents reviewed by The Intercept.
The plans, which also describe hacking internet-connected devices to eavesdrop in order to assess foreign populations’ susceptibility to propaganda, come at a time of intense global debate over technologically sophisticated “disinformation” campaigns, their effectiveness, and the ethics of their use.
While the U.S. government routinely warns against the risk of deep fakes and is openly working to build tools to counter them, the document from Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, represents a nearly unprecedented instance of the American government — or any government — openly signaling its desire to use the highly controversial technology offensively.
SOCOM’s next-generation propaganda aspirations are outlined in a procurement document that lists capabilities it’s seeking for the near future and solicits pitches from outside parties that believe they’re able to build them.
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“When it comes to disinformation, the Pentagon should not be fighting fire with fire,” Chris Meserole, head of the Brookings Institution’s Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technology Initiative, told The Intercept. “At a time when digital propaganda is on the rise globally, the U.S. should be doing everything it can to strengthen democracy by building support for shared notions of truth and reality. Deepfakes do the opposite. By casting doubt on the credibility of all content and information, whether real or synthetic, they ultimately erode the foundation of democracy itself.”
Research found that deep fakes can fool biometric checks used by banks. Despite this obvious flaw, KYC providers don’t really seem bothered about the possibility of exploitation.
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