Gullible Billions of People Aren’t Prepared for This

To say that humans evolve at a glacial pace is to call glaciers as race cars. Evolutionary changes to our bodies, including our physical brains, take hundreds of thousands of years or more. Evolutionary changes to our thinking occur more quickly yet still take hundreds of years. Civilization has progressed remarkably since the year 1524, shortly after the beginning of the Renaissance and globalization; and the changes since the years 1024 (tjhe medieval period) and 524 (the ‘Dark Ages’) have been striking. Nonetheless, due to technological innovations, our physical senses, which we’ve depended upon since time immemorial, can now be easily fooled.

For some 30 years now, it has become easily for anyone with personal computer software to alter still photographs (‘It’s been photoshopped!’) And for the past 20 years, first in Hollywood and lately by any video blogger who owns a $20 ‘greenscreen’ rig, video can be altered in such a way as to me or you in any video scene. Yet now the nascent technologies of machine learning and Artificail Intelligence (AI) have become able to create entirely artificial but incredibly realistic videos. The first video here is an example from the Open AI company’s Sora software. I daresay most consumers nowadays who see a print advertisement or television advertisement or cinema scene may not realize that much, even possibly most, of what they see was ‘photoshopped’ or ‘greenscreened’. And I submit to you that if you show consumers this Sora video without telling them that it is artificial, most will believe that it is real. The second video here takes this even further: allowing the artificially-generated people–or even dead actual people–realistically to say things that they never said.

We are no entring a time in which it will become difficult to tell whether something in still photography, audio, or video is real or not, because the retouched, artificial, or entirely faked will be too perfect for the average consumer to tell the difference. What’s known as ‘media literacy’–namely the ability and knowledge how to tell the difference, isn’t much or at all taught in schools. If caveat emptor is Latin for ‘buyer beware’. then videntium cave or ‘viewer beware’. I estimate that at least ten percent of my some 800 Facebook ‘friends’ are so naturally gullible that they wouldn’t be able to tell, might even not think it even possible, that such a video is artificial or fake. I think there is another ten to fiften percent who if a faked video supports their political opinions, would ‘Share’ it (i.e., spreading lies) so that others of their ilk or the gullible would themselves virally ‘Share’ it. I fear that a ‘golden age’ of deceptive propaganda and deceptive marketing has begun.

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