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Survival Guide for Deepfakes and AI From a PR Perspective

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Every couple of months a new AI feature goes viral. From image generators, personal assistants, note taking and audio transcription services to work out plan generators, the options were ever growing in 2023.  

With these tools and applications designed to make our lives easier, there come a few side effects to watch out for when incorporating them into our everyday lives. One of them is our diminishing ability to distinguish between what information is real and what’s false. 

AI’s Contribution to Disinformation

AI tools have become some of the main contributors to deepfakes and the spread of false news and misinformation. Merriam-Webster defines deepfake as “an image or recording that has been convincingly altered and manipulated to misrepresent someone as doing or saying something that was not actually done or said.” We’ve seen deepfakes overtake social media, especially when the world is watching major news or political events unfold. 

Likewise, AI chatbots have raised concerns as they have the tendency to give users misleading information. The main issue is that AI chatbots can’t clearly distinguish between fact and fiction. They’re simply aggregators of information available online – and as we all know, information online is not always reputable. This causes users to run into trouble when they’re fully trusting and relying on these chatbots as sources of information. 

So what can we do to avoid falling for misinformation? 

How to Manage the Rise of AI-Generated Content

  1. Review the quality of the video or image 

AI still has kinks and quirks that prevent it from being able to seamlessly create a video or image that looks 100% real. However, AI platforms are working to improve image generation, and we might not be able to tell what’s real versus fake soon. In the meantime, look for some key giveaways, including: 

  1. No-to-little blinking in videos of people
  2. Patchy skin tones
  3. Extra fingers or teeth on people or animals
  4. Poor lip-synchronization with audio
  5. Strange lighting effects with light coming from multiple directions

2. Approach information on social media with a critical eye 

Not everything you see on the internet is true. Going beyond believing what you see on the internet and backing up the information consumed on social platforms with research of your own from notable news sources and journals is how we can avoid falling victim to the spread of false and misleading information. Remember, we’re living in the age of disinformation, and social media is at the forefront of inflamed sentiment around the world. If you read something inflammatory on social media, whether or not it may be AI-generated, always double-check that it’s real before you disseminate it. 

  1. Double check information chatbots provide 

When using AI chatbots for research, it’s important to ask the chatbot where it sourced the information it’s providing you with. This allows you to double check to see if the source is reliable and can provide you with a sense of security. 

When you make a query, and if you’re content with the response provided, ask the chatbot “What source did you get this information from?” The chatbot will return the name of the source since it cannot pull direct links. You can then independently vet that information. 

  1. Protect your data

Remember that while AI can be a powerful tool, many privacy and security issues stem from broader online practices. Being mindful of your digital footprint and adopting good cybersecurity habits can go a long way in protecting your data from various threats, including potential misuse by AI.  

  1. Read privacy policies before engaging with AI technology to understand how your data will be stored and used.
  2. Avoid sharing private or personal information. If possible, use generic or anonymous information instead of providing personally identifiable details. This can help maintain a level of privacy while still allowing you to interact with the chatbot.
  3. Ensure that the platform hosting the AI chatbot uses secure and encrypted connections (look for "https" in the URL). This helps protect your data during transmission.
  4. Consider using the incognito or private browsing mode of your web browser when interacting with chatbots. This mode often limits tracking and data storage.
  5. Be aware of suspicious activity. If the chatbot is asking for personal information that is unrelated to its services make sure to verify the legitimacy of the platform. 

Ultimately, Remain Vigilant

As AI technology advances, the AI giveaways could be resolved in the near future, making deepfake media more believable and therefore a bigger threat. The only true way of avoiding falling victim to AI-generated misinformation and deepfakes is to do your own research and ensure the information you’re given is coming from a reliable source. In the current age of digital media, you can never be too careful. 

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