People doubt their own ability to spot AI-generated deepfakes – Help Net Security

23% of Americans said they recently came across a political deepfake they later discovered to be fake, according to McAfee.

deepfake concerns election year

The actual number of people exposed to political and other deepfakes is expected to be much higher given many Americans are not able to decipher what is real versus fake, thanks to the sophistication of AI technologies.

Misinformation and disinformation are top concerns

Misinformation and disinformation emerged as key concerns for Americans, with the recent incident involving a fake robocall from President Joe Biden serving as an example of what could become a widespread issue. When asked about the most worrying potential uses of deepfakes, election-related topics were front and center.

Specifically, 43% said influencing elections, 37% said undermining public trust in media, 43% said impersonating public figures – for example, politicians or well-known media figures – and 31% said distorting historical facts.

“It’s not only adversarial governments creating deepfakes this election season, it is now something anyone can do in an afternoon. The tools to create cloned audio and deepfake video are readily available and take only a few hours to master, and it takes just seconds to convince you that it’s all real. The ease with which AI can manipulate voices and visuals raises critical questions about the authenticity of content, particularly during a critical election year. In many ways, democracy is on the ballot this year thanks to AI,” said Steve Grobman, McAfee’s CTO.

In a world where AI-generated content is widely available and capable of creating realistic visual and audio content, seeing is no longer believing. Consumers can no longer trust their own eyes and instincts when discerning real from fake news.

Deepfakes in an election year

66% of people are more concerned about deepfakes than they were a year ago. 53% of respondents say AI has made it harder to spot online scams.

72% of American social media users find it challenging to spot artificial intelligence-generated content such as fake news and scams. Just 27% of people feel confident they would be able to identify if a call from a friend or loved one was, in fact, real or AI-generated.

As the political landscape heats up during a polarizing election year, so do concerns about deepfake technology. If people can be fooled by AI-generated voice clones of loved ones or celebrities, the possibility of being tricked by AI-generated audio designed to fool people into thinking it comes from a political figure could significantly impact political discourse and election outcomes.

In the past 12 months, 43% of people say they’ve seen deepfake content, 26% of people have encountered a deepfake scam, and 9% have been a victim of a deepfake scam.

Of the people who encountered or were the victim of a deepfake scam:

  • 31% said they have experienced some kind AI voice scam (for example, received a call, voicemail or voice note that sounded like a friend or loved one – that they believed was actually a voice clone.
  • 23% said they came across a video, image, or recording of a political candidate – an impersonation of a public figure – and thought it was real at first.
  • 40% said they came across a video, image, or recording of a celebrity and thought it was real.