Time to Delete Your Pics From the Internet? [Content Made Simple]
Issue #292: Twitter trust and safety is gone, video games, and more.
TOP OF THE WEEK
AI image generation tech can now create life-wrecking deepfakes with ease
If you're one of the billions of people who have posted pictures of themselves on social media over the past decade, it may be time to rethink that behavior. New AI image-generation technology allows anyone to save a handful of photos (or video frames) of you, then train AI to create realistic fake photos that show you doing embarrassing or illegal things. Not everyone may be at risk, but everyone should know about it.
Photographs have always been subject to falsifications—first in darkrooms with scissors and paste and then via Adobe Photoshop through pixels. But it took a great deal of skill to pull off convincingly. Today, creating convincing photorealistic fakes has become almost trivial.
Once an AI model learns how to render someone, their image becomes a software plaything. The AI can create images of them in infinite quantities. And the AI model can be shared, allowing other people to create images of that person as well.
I’ve been somewhat public about my wife and I’s decision to not post pictures of our daughter to the internet (I wrote about it here), and this sort of thing is exactly why. It’s becoming more and more likely that I’ll be retreating from any personal, identifiable presence on social media within a year or two, I think. This kind of thing, combined with rumors that Twitter is going to require users to opt-in to personalized ads, is probably going to drive me further away from social media in the near future.
THE TRIVIA QUESTION
As of 2020, what percentage of Americans use a fake Christmas tree?
Answer at the bottom.
HITTING THE LINKS
Link #1: Twitter Trust and Safety Council members describe weeks of radio silence from the company and Musk
This seems…not good?
“Today’s decision to dissolve the Trust and Safety Council is cause for grave concern, particularly as it is coupled with increasingly hostile statements by Twitter owner Elon Musk about journalists and the media,” said CPJ President Jodie Ginsberg in a statement Monday.
Julie Owono, a member of the Facebook Oversight Board and the executive director of Internet Sans Frontières, whose objective is to promote the free circulation of information and knowledge and to defend digital freedoms and rights, said the organization had not had any contact with the company since Musk took over in October.
Link #2: The Case for Taking Video Games Seriously
Very good from Patrick here.
Great games, like great literature, allow you to immerse yourself in someone else’s imagination. To misquote Lewis, “In playing great games I become a thousand men and yet remain myself.” Critical engagement resulting from quality immersion is good for self-reflection, empathic expansion, evangelism, and much more.
Link #3: YouTube will send a notification to users if their comment is abusive
This is an interesting approach. Watching social media platforms grapple with content moderation is always enlightening! I do not envy this line of work.
Toxic and hateful comments on YouTube have been a constant headache for the company, creators and users. The company has previously attempted to curtail this by introducing features such as showing an alert to individuals at the time of posting so that they could be more considerate. Now, the streaming service is introducing a new feature that will more aggressively nudge such individuals of their abusive comments and take broader actions.
YouTube says it will send a notification to people whose abusive comments have been removed for violating the platform’s rules. If despite receiving the notification a user continues to post abusive comments, the service will ban them from posting any more comments for 24 hours. The company said it tested the feature before the rollout today and found that notifications and timeouts proved materially successful.
THE FUNNY PART
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Trivia Answer: 81% fake; 19% real
Man, I've been warning against using AI for things like DeepFakes for years. It's really disturbing what's going on, but I hadn't seen that Ars story so thanks for sharing. As for the Christmas tree part, that's interesting. That is way more one-sided than I thought it would be. I grew up with a fake tree, but when my wife and I got married decided to stick with real trees each year. After about 13 years we bought a fake one again. Financially it just makes sense, and it pays for itself.