House Holds Hearing On "Deepfakes" and AI

The House Intelligence Committee spoke with experts on the potential threat that “deepfake” videos and other kinds of AI-generated synthetic data pose to the U.S. elections and the country’s security as a whole. The attendants at Thursday’s hearing included professors from the University of Buffalo and the University of Maryland.

The committee stated that it wants to "examine the national security threats posed by AI-enabled fake content, what can be done to detect and combat it, and what role the public sector, the private sector, and society as a whole should play to counter a potentially grim, 'post-truth' future," during the hearing. 

The event has occurred amid a growing trend of videos being modified without consent to show famous individuals appearing to say statement that they never actually did.

Nancy Patricia Pelosi is an American politician serving as speaker of the United States House of Representatives since January 2019.

Nancy Patricia Pelosi is an American politician serving as speaker of the United States House of Representatives since January 2019.

For instance, a doctored video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in which she seems to be impaired while speaking, appeared everywhere on social media recently. The said video received 2.5 million views on the social media site Facebook after Donald Trump shared it with his followers in the attempt to question Pelosi’s ability to hold office. There is bipartisan concern that these modified videos will become the newest weapon for disinformation wars against the US and other western countries.

Deep fakes raise profound questions about national security and democratic governance, with individuals and voters no longer able to trust their own eyes or ears when assessing the authenticity of what they see on their screens.
— The House Intelligence Committee

During his opening speech, the committee chair Adam Schiff said the proliferation of modified videos foreshadows a "nightmarish" scenario for the 2020 elections. It is leaving lawmakers, the news media and the public "struggling to discern what is real and what is fake."

now is the time for social media companies to put in place policies to protect users from misinformation, not in 2021 after viral deepfakes have polluted the 2020 elections. By then, it will be too late.
— Rep. Adam Schiff

Danielle Citron, Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, stated that there is no finite method to prevent deepfakes from being spread, but asserted that a mix of of "law, markets and societal resiliences" are needed to get an effective solution.