24/7 Space News
Venezuela, China, Biden and extraterrestrials: the disinformation of AI
Venezuela, China, Biden and extraterrestrials: the disinformation of AI
By Javier TOVAR
Caracas (AFP) March 17, 2023

A blond television presenter seemingly working for a channel called the "House of News" looks into the camera and asks in English: "How true is it that Venezuela is such a poor country?"

But this man is not a journalist -- or even a real human being. He's an avatar generated by artificial intelligence (AI), a tool that is becoming ever more common in global disinformation.

Subtitled clips from this supposed news channel have appeared on social media with a clear bias towards the Venezuelan government, creating a scandal in the country.

And this is not an isolated case.

"More and more regions are starting to refer to deep fakes and AI-generated audio-visuals as a threat, usually closer to elections," Shirin Anlen, a media technology expert from the Witness NGO, told AFP.

Last month a US-based research firm identified a fake news outlet called "Wolf News" whose AI anchors pumped out propaganda promoting the interests of the Chinese Communist Party.

A doctored video of US President Joe Biden warning of the threat of an "extraterrestrial nature" went viral last month.

And last year, a video showed Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky snorting cocaine while another had US star Eminem attacking Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in a rap song.

- Easy to use -

The "House of News Espanol" avatars were created by the Synthesia AI program.

Synthesia reported the fake news channel's content on YouTube, which duly removed it.

"If you're pretending to be a journalist, or you're pretending to have breaking news, it's going to be banned," Synthesia spokeswoman Laura Morelli told AFP.

However state television channel VTV played a House of News video that boasted about how much money a domestic baseball competition had made, despite no official figures existing.

VTV's high profile presenter, Barry Cartaya, even claimed the numbers were being talked about "in the United States and a large part of Latin America."

President Nicolas Maduro has bristled at the suggestion his government is behind the fake videos.

"It is not artificial intelligence, it is popular intelligence," he said last month. "I am a robot," he added sarcastically, while trying to imitate one.

- 'A lie repeated 1,000 times' -

House of News' two presenters, Noah and Daren, are among Synthesia's catalogue of 93 avatars -- as are the Wolf News duo Alex and Jason.

Avatars were also used in January to create videos of supposed Americans supporting a coup in Burkina Faso.

Meanwhile Facebook's parent company Meta recently dismantled networks of fake accounts.

One, in Cuba, created fake identities "criticizing members of the opposition," said Ben Nimmo, Meta's global threat intelligence lead.

Some used profile photos that were likely generated using artificial intelligence, he said, adding: "This is a tactic that we've seen used more and more often by influence operations in the last few years."

"These types of programs can be used by anyone with basic understanding," said Eduardo Mosqueira, a professor at the University of A Coruna.

Mosqueira says it is not difficult to identify a fake video, but much tougher to decipher its origin.

"If they have been a tiny bit careful, I imagine it's impossible," he said.

And, he adds, it is "increasingly easy to program bots on social media that pretend to be real people and launch messages that you want to get across."

More often than not, the tactic works.

Mosqueira explains it by citing a quote attributed to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

"A lie repeated 1,000 times becomes the truth," he said.




Related Links
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
Girl with AI earrings sparks Dutch art controversy
The Hague (AFP) March 10, 2023
At first glance it seems to be just a modern take on Johannes Vermeer's masterpiece "Girl with a Pearl Earring". But look more closely and things get a little strange. Firstly, there are two glowing earrings in the image hanging in the Mauritshuis museum in the Dutch city of The Hague. And aren't those freckles on her face actually... a slightly inhuman shade of red? That's because the work - one of several fan recreations replacing the 1665 original while it's on loan for a huge Vermeer show a ... read more

SpaceX cargo resupply mission CRS-27 scheduled for launch Tuesday

NASA SpaceX Crew-5 splashes down after 5-month mission

China to revamp science, tech in face of foreign 'suppression'

DLR goes all in with new technology at the Startup Factory

Relativity Space counts down to third launch attempt for 3D-printed rocket

SpaceX sets a new doubleheader record launch for SES

Rocket Lab claims 'mission success' after deploying 2 commercial satellites into orbit

SpaceX launches Cargo Dragon carrying supplies and experiments to ISS

Building on Luna and Mars with StarCrete the double stength concrete

Engineers keep an eye on fuel supply of NASA's oldest Mars orbiter

Remains of a modern glacier found near Martian equator

ExoMars rover testing moves ahead and deep down

China's space technology institute sees launches of 400 spacecraft

Shenzhou XV crew takes second spacewalk

China conducts ignition test in Mengtian space lab module

China plans robotic spacecraft to collect samples from asteroid

Satellite constellations multiply on profit hopes, geopolitics

HawkEye 360's latest satellite cluster begins operation

Spacetime will orchestrate LEO network for Rivada constellation

Eutelsat and Intelsat sign multi-orbit contract enhancing connectivity with OneWeb

Breaking the One Part-One Material Paradigm

MIT 3D-printed revolving devices can sense how they are moving

Venezuela, China, Biden and extraterrestrials: the disinformation of AI

Costa Rica's 'urban mine' for planet-friendlier lithium

Distant star TOI-700 has two potentially habitable planets

How do microbes live off light

Rutgers scientists identify substance that may have sparked life on earth

DLR Gottingen helps in the search for signs of life in space

New Horizons team discusses discoveries from the Kuiper Belt

New Horizons team adds AI to Kuiper Belt Object search

Study finds ocean currents may affect rotation of Europa's icy crust

Inspiring mocktail menu served up by Space Juice winners

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2023 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.