Deepfakes are developing fast, and although faking video and audio is not new, experts agree that we can’t win this fight. Machines will be able to create digital media that can not be recognized as such by a normal human consumer. We have written about this threat because it spells disaster. Chaos is what we expect to be the result in any media/public relation, motivated by malignant attitudes, desire to have fun or the desire to exploit.
Fake news is already a problem, leading to lynchings in some countries, based only on accusations. Inter tribal tensions, racism, every kind of tension can be stirred up by faking news and faking video. Imagine a video of Justin Trudeax kicking a cat as he walks home, low quality surveillance cam footage, but all fake! It is AI, learning to imagine using the same building blocks as us, resulting in the ability to rebuild imagined scenarios. Now it’s only faces that are matched with the originals, but it will be entire persons. The tech to remove items from a video stream, like a rock from an ocean shore already exist.
How to deal with this?
Surprisingly there is a technology that can help us, namely blockchain. Blockchain is the name for consecutive blocks of data that are encrypted as a chain, meaning an encrypted fingerprint (so called hash) of the first block is part of the second. The important quality of a blockchain is that its blocks of data have a specific order and content, and you can not change any of the data in the chain without this resulting in an invalid chain. Blockchain gives direction to data like a diode or a water lock can.
The peculiar ability of blockchain to create a temporal direction in a data chain stems from the way it calculates the fingerprint of the last block, it is a lossy way. So to explain it super simple, if you have stored the phrase “Hi there!” the fingerprint can be “ABC”. This however would also be the fingerprint of “SAO sa@ f”, or several thousand other meaningless phrases. Now we can run the fingerprint algorithm, insert “Hi there!” and confirm the output is “ABC”, but we can not take “ABC” and in any practical way return the input “Hi there!”. Its a one way process.
How does this help? Well if we make a new phrase and we say “ABC, Now this is new data”, so we put the fingerprint in the new phrase, then if we fingerprint that phrase the output may be “XYZ”. The ABC is part of the reason the output is XYZ, but like above we can never find ABC if we start off with XYZ. However if anyone has stored the data (and this is the case with blockchains) it is easy to verify that XYZ is the correct next fingerprint.
Once the chain has completed a number of steps as it stores data it becomes impossible to alter this data because it is stored in many peers and it has this internal fingerprint directional integrity. In short if you store data in a blockchain you can be sure that is remains unaltered. The older it is the more secure the data becomes.
The only way to deal with deepfakes and fake information is to add its fingerprint to a blockchain, as it is created or a ‘official version’ is released. Any digital audio or video clip can be translated in a code, a hash as the fingerprint is also called. You can see an example of how this works on our site Ethereumcertify.com , Just type in some text in the textarea and submit. The long code that appears is the fingerprint. If you change the text it changes, if you enter the same text it is exactly the same.
Hi there! -> 396199333edbf40ad43e62a1c1397793
Now if we add this fingerprint or hash to a blockchain transaction, it becomes data stored in the blockchain. We can use the Ethereum blockchain for that, but any other active blockchain will do as well. Now if you take a video and you store it in this way, any viewer can verify if the content is unaltered and unfaked by the following steps :
- Create a fingerprint
- Check the blockchain to see if it is the same as the one introduced by the author
Today encryption is already used to secure data, this is the practice of scrambling a message or data so it becomes unreadble, and unscrambling it at the recieving end. This also prevents tampering with data. The weak point is that both sender and reciever must be in contact with a central encryption authority that will manage and validate the encryption keys. This encryption authority (or Certification Authority as it is called) has to be reachable, online and requests to it have to be secure and untampered with. A reliable system of encryption can be created (which does not mean that eavesdropping is impossible in other ways). But what if you find content in the wild?
Click to visit Ethereumcertify.com
A blockchain based system is the most practical solution to deepfakes and doctored content. The author of the content stores the fingerprint in the blockchain, the consumer can run the same process before consuming the content. There is no way to create a matching fingerprint of content when its altered. You can already use Ethereumcertify.com to secure your content. We will be adding a service for video fingerprinting (hashing) soon. If you want to invest let us know send us an email at email@example.com