On 1st September 2020, Microsoft announced its initiative to fight the fake news. The tech giant is planning to launch technology that can detect AI edited videos. There is also a provision of providing real certification to videos.
Need To Combat Fake News
Disinformation in the media is a debated topic. The term “fake news” is thrown around in the media. In the current climate, it is a political tactic. But, reports have emerged about the impact of misinformation beyond politics.
Princeton Professor Jacob Shapiro‘s research is alarming. According to him, campaign at least 96 foreign campaigns target 30 countries. The aim behind the campaigns was to defame reputed people and polarize people. The campaign targeted countries all around the world. Some names on the list are the USA, Australia, Armenia, and Germany.
The campaigns are hitting hard in 2020 due to Covid-19. It has emerged that misinformation has led to the deaths of people. Reportedly people have also used harmful substances to try to cure Corona.
The major misinformation spreader is deep fakes or synthetic media. Deepfakes are AI edited videos or photos. The use of AI makes it hard for standard technologies to detect the edit. Deepfakes make people say things they haven’t said. It also places them somewhere they have never visited. The videos and photos appear so real; it is hard to recognize the fake news.
To combat it, Microsoft announced Microsoft Video Authenticator. The Video Authenticator can test whether a given media is a deepfakes or not. In the case of a still photo, the program will provide a manipulated media confidence score. And for video, it can give a real-time score of manipulation of each frame.
The authenticator detects the boundary of the deepfakes. It also recognized minute fading or grey elements that the human eye can miss.
Microsoft has also acknowledged its big ambition. They know that technology may not be 100% accurate. But, they want to work towards combating fake information. The company said,
“We expect that methods for generating synthetic media will continue to grow in sophistication. As all AI detection methods have rates of failure, we have to understand and be ready to respond to deepfakes that slip through detection methods. Thus, in the longer term, we must seek stronger methods for maintaining and certifying the authenticity of news articles and other media.”
Microsoft’s new technology involves Microsoft Azure. According to the company, it will allow content creators to control their products. There will be an option of adding hashes and certification to the content. The accreditation and hashes will remain as metadata whenever the product goes.
Well, the technology also involves the readers. Readers can check the authenticity of the data. The technology allows viewing the certification and content producer.
The company is partnering with top media players and political personnel for the project. AI Foundation’s Reality Defender 2020 initiative will provide Video Authenticator to the news outlet and political campaigns. The organization is a Microsoft partner.
BBC, CBC/Radio-Canada, and the New York Times will also join Microsoft’s initiative. The campaign also involves the Trusted News Initiative. The company is associated with publishers and social media companies.