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The AI genie is not going back into the bottle

It’s not a marketing story, but I noted the story of how deepfakes are a threat to national security. You should expect to see more of these stories asking how we can put the AI genie back in the bottle. Given the new suspicion around our massive tech titans, such as Facebook and Google, we should be prepared for more dystopian fears of Skynet. It wasn’t long ago that governments sought to curtail encryption in the name of national security, so expect a similar assault here demanding watermarks and other security back doors, all because we can’t tell a fake from something real.

I don’t mean to downplay the issue. Just as we need forensics to tell us that a photo was doctored with Photoshop, AI ups the ante, where maybe there is no way to tell. And that is understandably disturbing, because we humans like to be able to trust what we see.

But expecting to roll back the technology to accomplish that is a fool’s errand. We humans have somehow coped with many situations where seeing isn’t believing over human history, and it is only going to get worse. If you think deepfakes are a problem because they can rewrite the past, wait until you see how Augmented and Virtual Reality rewrite the here and now.

Rather than blaming the technology for the problem, perhaps we need to blame the humans using the technology in nefarious ways and demanding a higher standard of proof than merely seeing. What you are witnessing is a specific example of the cat and mouse game that the scammers always are playing with the rest of us, so we just need to stay vigilant and realize that if it doesn’t feel right, maybe it isn’t right. The antidote for deepfakes isn’t technological. It’s old-fashioned human skepticism.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in internet marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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