CHARBONNEAU – With AI-generated misinformation, sources are more important than ever

AI-generated image of brain. (Image:

WITH AI-GENERATED MISINFORMATION, sources are more important than ever.

When I want the facts, I go to a source I trust. That might be an honest person or professional news source.

But when generative AI can replicate a person’s voice and image to tell falsehoods, where can I go for the truth?

It was relatively easy when the news world was dominated by professional media sources.

Television news anchors were trusted and reporters were paid to dig out the news. Even when politicians obfuscate, they appear credible.

With the collapse of traditional news sources, it became easy to fake the news. Get a chair and desk, place them in front of a curtain, and presto you’re a news anchor. Spout all the misinformation you want.

But even then, you could filter though the misinformation noise to find trusted voices, reliable sites.

Now generative AI threatens to rob those trusted voices of their authenticity. Generative AI can take the voices and images of trusted sources and make them say anything.

Deep fake technology is especially disruptive in politics where insult and misrepresentation are increasingly common.

Generative AI can be used to create synthetic media for the purposes of confusing voters, slandering a candidate or even inciting violence. In an automated robocall message, a candidate’s voice could instruct voters to cast ballots on the wrong date.

Fake audio recordings could have a candidate confessing to a crime or expressing racist views; show video footage of someone making a speech or interview they never gave; display fake pictures designed to look like local news.

We already have a glimpse into the future of deep fake misrepresentation from the master of lies and deception, Donald Trump. He recently shared an AI-generated video of CNN host Anderson Cooper with Cooper’s fake reaction to a CNN town hall with Trump.

A dystopian campaign ad released last month by the Republican National Committee (RNC) offers another glimpse of this digitally manipulated future.

In the online ad, which came after President Joe Biden announced his re-election campaign, a strange, slightly warped image of Biden is shown with the text: “What if the weakest president we’ve ever had was re-elected?”

In the same ad, a series of AI-generated images follows: Taiwan under attack; boarded-up storefronts in the U.S. as the economy crumbles; soldiers and armoured military vehicles patrolling local streets as tattooed criminals and waves of immigrants create panic.

The RNC acknowledged the use of AI in the ad, but others, reprehensible political campaigns and foreign adversaries, will not.

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, has been touring countries with a solution. In Toronto, he said: “I think there should be some sort of global licensing and regulatory framework, in the same way we do for other super-dangerous, super-high-potential technology,”

That won’t cut it. Bad actors are not going to follow regulations. Regulations don’t mean anything to the masters of deceit and lies.

The only way we will separate deep fakes from true voices and images is by considering the source. Trusted professional reporters can verify a news story and distribute it as true. A return to reliable sources of news is the only way to establish authenticity.

Everything else should be considered as entertainment.

David Charbonneau is a retired TRU electronics instructor who hosts a blog at

About Mel Rothenburger (9634 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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