As a part of its “next generation propaganda aspirations,” the U.S. government plans to use deepfake videos, according to a recent report. While it’s warning employees of deepfake job applications and developing tools to detect it, it appears that the government doesn’t have an issue with using deepfake videos for its own agenda.
[Related reading: TikTok is now banned from all U.S. House of Representatives devices]
A report written by The Intercept shares a document from Special Operations Command, or SOCOM. In the document, there are descriptions of using Military Information Support Operations, or MISO: “MISO technologies for influence ‘operations, digital deception, communication disruption, and disinformation campaigns at the tactical edge and operational levels.” As The Intercept describes it, MISO is “a Pentagon euphemism for its global propaganda and deception efforts.”
Head of the Brookings Institution’s Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technology Initiative Chris Meserole commented:
“When it comes to disinformation, the Pentagon should not be fighting fire with fire. 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.”
When it comes to official and government-issued stuff, I believe that using deepfakes is a double-edged sword… with both edges sharp. Doing it for fun and with a clear disclaimer is one thing, and doing it for deception, propaganda, or spreading fake news is another.