Nov 16, 2023 - Technology

Exclusive poll: AI is already great at faking video and audio, experts say

Data: Data: Axios-Generation Lab-Syracuse University; Chart: Axios Visuals

Nearly every respondent (95%) in a new Axios-Generation Lab-Syracuse University AI Experts Survey described AI's audio and video deepfake capabilities as "advanced."

Driving the news: 68% said the capabilities are moderately advanced; 27% said they are highly advanced.

The big picture: Digital authenticity certification is the most effective strategy to offset AI deepfakes (39%), said respondents in our national survey of computer scientists from top universities. That’s followed by public education on deepfakes (29%), improved detection technology (18%) and stricter regulations (13%).

What they're saying: "This is a really authoritative alarm here: 'Hey, we have a deepfake problem,'" Generation Lab CEO Cyrus Beschloss told Axios.

  • 62% said misinformation will be the biggest challenge to maintaining the authenticity and credibility of news in an era of AI-generated articles.

Transparency about AI-generated news (33%) and independent fact-checking (32%) topped the list of ways to ensure trustworthy news reporting going forward, respondents said.

  • Editorial oversight (19%) and improved media literacy (16%) also were seen as important protections.

What we’re watching: 56% of respondents said they believe AI can help journalists' ability to produce and disseminate local news, whether it's helping a little (39%) or a lot (17%). One in four respondents said AI could instead hurt local news.

How it works: The survey includes responses from 216 professors of computer science at 67 of the top 100 U.S. computer science programs, as defined by SCImago Journal rankings.

  • An experts survey does not necessarily reflect the views of the population at large. It is different from a poll, which looks at a random sample of 1,000 or more U.S. adults and carries an estimated margin of error.
  • The computer science professors surveyed are not a representative sample of the wider population, and while experts' views may sometimes track with the general population they may differ if their views are shaped more by their understanding of technology than by expertise in politics, media or other realms.
  • Experts from domains beyond computer science were not included in this survey, but they bring important perspectives to debates over AI as well.

Methodology: This Axios-Generation Lab-Syracuse University AI Experts Survey was conducted Oct. 25-30, 2023, with an online survey distributed by email.

  • A listing of the participating institutions and additional details about the methodology may be found at the survey site.
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