This is the application session following last week’s video on how AI is being used to create fake pictures, audio and video. See Episode 94 here.
This week, we look at the business opportunity of verifying the authenticity of media, and the importance of protecting your brand and teaching your team (and yourself) critical thinking skills.
Let’s talk about the business opportunities as well as the threats of fake photographs and fake videos and fake audio as well. These are being generated by artificial intelligence. It’s a lot more than it used to be. Just a few years ago, we were talking about deep fakes where you could take your face and put it into a movie or make a celebrity say something that they hadn’t really said. Now we can go a step further and actually generate images and audio and video that have never happened before, but they look like real life.
My name is Graeme Codrington, this is Throw Forward Thursday and if you didn’t watch last week’s episode of Throw Forward Thursday, go and have a look where I showed you pictures of Donald Trump being arrested before Donald Trump was arrested, and it’s quite interesting as to how realistic they are. This is not as easy to do as you think. I told you last week that I’d show you my attempts at this. I use Midjourney to generate images and I gave it a go. I asked Midjourney to give me some images of Donald Trump being arrested. First of all, Midjourney said I’m not allowed to do that and a lot of websites have begun to say if you deliberately put up the type of images or the type of videos that are taking a famous person and putting them into a position that they wouldn’t want to be put into, in other words, a bit of a libellous or a slanderous position, they will remove those and they will ban you for life. So good on them.
I didn’t find it that easy, so at the moment, it’s going to take more than just what the average person can do with Midjourney or GPT-4, but if you’ve got reasonable artistic skills, now you’ve got tools to be able to do this better and faster than you’ve ever done before. Within a few months and a few years, you’re going to be able to do even more than that.
I am not going to tell you which parts of this video are actually not me in reality but are actually AI being me. I’m not going to tell you because we don’t really have the budget and I don’t have the resources to actually do that. A lot of people have done it and I’ll put a few links in the notes alongside this video for you to see some examples. Or do I have the time and resources? And you’ll never know which bits of this video were actually me or the AI version of me. That’s the whole point, right? It’s going to be very soon before we don’t know it all.
So, there are three business applications that I want to help you with this week. That’s what we’re doing now in season three of Throw Forward Thursday. We show you a topic and then the next week we help you to think like a futurist and to apply what we’ve seen into the business environment. So, three things, and let me get to those quickly.
The first is we are going to have to have some way to verify the authenticity of Media. It’s media covering everything from images to videos and audio and everything else. So, we’re going to have to be able to verify the authenticity. I really hope that some AI engine comes across very, very quickly now that actually helps us to verify that. So, for example, you can have a look at GPTZero, that’s an app that’s available on a website, you can copy text, put it into GPTZero and it gives you the percentage likelihood that that was written by a human versus written by ChatGPT. I’ve tested it out and it’s pretty accurate with how close it gets, and I think we need something like that for Media. The threat, of course, is that we shouldn’t be trusting things unless they are verified and right now there isn’t an agreed upon verification process. The opportunity here is that somebody’s got to do the verifying, somebody’s got to be involved in the certification process, and whichever company comes up with a globally accepted certification standard, they’re going to get very rich.
I’ll take you back 20 years or so. A young South African entrepreneur was a little bit nervous of spending some money on the Internet and giving his credit card details to somebody and so he invented what you know today as the little padlock that appears in the bottom corner. You probably don’t even notice that it’s there, but the little padlock that certifies that the website you are dealing with is now encrypted and that the information that you are sending can’t be read by anybody else and will be used only for the purpose that it was given.
Encryption of websites, the https in http websites. That guy was Mark Shuttleworth, he was South Africa’s first Internet billionaire and by the way, he was also the first private citizen in space. Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson were all fighting it out in 2022 to be the first billionaire in space, everybody forgot about Mark Shuttleworth, who did it more than a decade ago. He’s kind of been pretty quiet in the background as far as I know he’s used a lot of his money for a lot of good in his home country, South Africa. Well done to him because he identified an opportunity we needed to be able to trust online payment systems, and he created the genius behind the encryption packaging process, and that became IP that he could sell. We’re going to need the same thing with Media, people who work that out, Billionaires, no doubt.
The second thing I want to talk about is that you have to protect your brand. Whether your brand is you as a person, if you’re a famous-Ish person or you’re the CEO or media spokesperson of a large company, it is possible that a fake will be made of you, and if it’s just your company, that fake images will be made. Here’s an image of Nestle doing something in the jungle to trees and animals, here’s a picture of Boeing doing something with their aeroplanes, here’s a picture of a politician saying something, or a video of them saying something or doing something, and that can go viral within hours. You’ve got to be prepared, you have to have had this conversation, you’re right the way up to board level, and certainly, from a risk perspective, your risk team needs to have thought this one through. What are you going to do? How are you going to respond? How are you going to prove that that is not genuine? What’s going to be your statement? How are you going to engage with it?
And then two years ago, when I first talked about deep fakes, I suggested that you, it was a bit of a silly suggestion in the moment as I was recording the video, but I wonder, I’ll just throw it out again, that maybe you should record a whole lot of fakes that are actually of your CEO or actually of yourself saying something you would never say. So anyone who knows me knows I’m a Manchester United supporter, and anyone who knows football will know that there is not a chance that any Manchester United football fan will ever say anything good about Liverpool under any circumstances. So if I recorded a video of myself being complimentary and talking about how great Liverpool Football Club was, you’d know it was a fake, and if I recorded one of those and just kept it in my draw, then if another fake comes out of me saying something, I then release all the fakes I’ve created, flood the market with fake Graeme’s and then I can basically say, hey, everything you’re seeing Graeme saying at the moment is a fake. Come back to us we’ll verify what really is Graeme or not. I don’t know, maybe you’re not that famous, I’m certainly not that famous, so maybe you don’t have to go to those levels. But you do have to think it through. You do have to think through what you would do to protect your brand. So that’s the second thing you need to take away from this.
The third is that we need to teach our teams, we need to teach the people in our businesses, you need to teach your children and in fact, to be honest, we all have to teach ourselves how to think more critically. Let me give you just an example here; Over the last few weeks, I’ve been extolling the virtues of ChatGPT, GPT-4 now, and telling people how brilliant it is. And of course, the immediate pushback that people have got is, well, sometimes it doesn’t give you accurate results, you ask it to give you information about a topic and the information it gives you is not entirely accurate and then they say so we shouldn’t use ChatGPT. And my response is, well, where do you go for absolutely accurate information? Because they’re saying, well don’t use ChatGPT and then the second half of the question is, well what should I use then? Should I go to the Encyclopaedia Britannica? Let’s go old school. Do you think that everything written about in the Encyclopaedia Britannica is perfect knowledge? What happens if I asked you about, say, the famine in India 60, 70 years ago? Do you think the Encyclopaedia Britannica is going to give you a perfectly truthful answer about who did what wrong? No, a little bit of an incendiary example there, but do you know what I mean? If you say, well, go and read a book about it, is every single book you’ve ever read absolutely, perfectly truthful and completely comprehensive? Of course not.
So ChatGPT becomes just a tool, like every other tool, and every tool is flawed, but we don’t talk about this enough, we are not trained to think critically enough and so people say, do your own homework, as if doing your own homework will naturally come up with the right result. And people have very much succumbed to confirmation bias, as soon as they find a source that agrees with what they already believe, they say, you see there? I have proof. We’ve got to learn how to think.
My favourite book of recent years, there are lots of books that will teach you how to think critically, all the way back to Cole Sagan’s, “The Demon-Haunted World” and all sorts of others that just train you to think about the world around you. Be a little bit more investigative, sceptical, or scientific is maybe the word in your approach, but the most recent book, which I think is one of the best ever written on this, is Adam Grant’s, “Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know”, is the subtitle and I think it really helps you to think better. If you like one that’s a little bit more detailed and a little bit more academic, then Daniel Kahneman’s, “Thinking, Fast And Slow”, would also be a good resource and Catherine Schultz’s book, “Being Wrong”, is a great addition to that list as well. So lots to read.
But the point I’m trying to make is that we now live in a world where fake, false and completely made up media is now going to flood the system, and instead of being overwhelmed by that, we need to find ways as quickly as possible of verifying what in fact is real. Knowing that we can no longer trust what we see on our phones, on our computer screens, on our TV screens. Sadly, that’s the reality, but it’s been that way forever, it’s now just obvious to us, and a flood. And so we have got to look for the business opportunities if that is in the industry that you’re in. In our business, we need to protect ourselves and our brands against that fake and false information, and thirdly, we’ve got to learn skills to be able to make sure we don’t get captured or sucked in by some of this bad information.
Hey, we could turn this into a few hours of workshops, because there’s a lot that we’ve got to learn and a lot that we’ve got to do in order to apply this week’s lesson, but that, I think, is absolutely part of what it means to understand the world we live in and understand how we can live in it better in the future. That’s why I call it thinking like a futurist.
As always, if our team at Tomorrow Today can help you and your team to do some of these things, make sure you contact us. We’d love to help you more. Otherwise, I will see you next week in the Throw Forward Thursday studio.
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Graeme Codrington, is an internationally recognized futurist, specializing in the future of work. He helps organizations understand the forces that will shape our lives in the next ten years, and how we can respond in order to confidently stay ahead of change. Chat to us about booking Graeme to help you Re-Imagine and upgrade your thinking to identify the emerging opportunities in your industry.
For the past two decades, Graeme has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands, travelling to over 80 countries in total, and speaking to around 100,000 people every year. He is the author of 5 best-selling books, and on faculty at 5 top global business schools.