One of the tragedies of today’s deteriorating political/social environment is that we are rapidly losing all ability to distinguish fact from fantasy. Our politicians clearly have something to do with this. Boris Johnson, who takes office as prime minister of the U.K. today, is another on the list of leaders who use language to achieve effect rather than reveal truth. Social media is also a contributor.
But the rise of “deep fakes” threatens to take us one great leap further into the post-fact world. Sure, there have always been those who believe the moon landing was faked, or that an airplane didn’t hit the Pentagon. But new technology makes it increasingly easy to manufacture fake photos and videos in ways that are very hard to detect. As Bernhard Warner writes in this piece for the August issue of Fortune magazine: “For now, bad actors have the advantage.”
By the way, Warner notes that “so far, women have been the biggest victims of deep fakes.”
Separately, should companies go on the offensive against their cyber attackers? Congress is considering a bill that would make that sort of cyber vigilantism legal. But some smart folks think that’s a recipe for trouble. You can read Robert Hackett’s story here.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department has opened a sweeping antitrust investigation of big tech companies.