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Photoshop: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
There is a pitched struggle underway between the makers of fake AI-generated videos and images and forensics experts trying desperately to uncover them. And the detectives are losing, Kaveh reports.
Now, experts are attempting an end-run: They are developing methods to verify photos and videos at the precise moment they're taken, leaving no room for doubt about their authenticity. This could portend a cynical future in which media must leave a digital trail of breadcrumbs in order to be believed.
Why it matters: Their effort is the leading edge in a massive scramble to stave off a potential landscape in which it's impossible to know what's true and what isn't.
"My concern is that if they actually achieve their end-state goal that they describe, that might work against people who are already marginalized, and might perpetuate data surveillance," says Sam Gregory, a program manager at the human-rights nonprofit WITNESS.
Where it stands: The consensus today is that detecting deepfakes after they've been created is a stopgap — not a permanent solution.
What's happening: The main alternative is to verify a photo or video at the source, using unique information about the specific camera that's taking it.
Several startups are working on this nascent technology.
What's next: All three companies told Axios that a widespread built-in verification system is still years away. For now, they are working with industries that need to be able to trust incoming videos and photos — TruePic with insurers, Amber with body camera makers, and Serelay with media companies.
San Francisco, one of the superstars. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty
The lion's share of post-recession job growth in the U.S. has taken place in just 25 cities — superstars like New York and San Francisco that teem with young workers staffing in-demand industries, writes Axios' Kim Hart.
These cities, though they are saddled with their own deep income inequality and bubbling housing crises, are the only ones positioned to succeed in the new automation-driven future of work, according to the report.
This landscape isn't likely to change, even as the fates of the superstars and the second-tiers continue to diverge.
Women may be better positioned than men for the automation-era jobs. McKinsey data suggest that women could capture 58% of net job growth through 2030.
Future readers were eager to weigh in on yesterday's post on the food fight under way between boosters and detractors of real and fake hamburgers. Here are two:
"The fact that a 'hot dog' doesn’t contain dog shows how daft the meat industry’s protests are. This tactic is a protectionist action by a worried industry, as consumers become more conscious of the environmental and health impacts of a meat-laden diet. Imagine, for example, if the auto industry tried to claim that AI-driven vehicles could not be called 'cars.' Computer-piloted transportation modules, anyone?"— Craig Fawcett, Rotterdam, Netherlands
"The first time I saw the Impossible Burger on a restaurant menu (complete with a description that clarified it as a vegetable patty), I didn’t realize 'Impossible' was a brand name. Rather, I thought the implication was that the restaurant’s regular-old-veggie patty was impossibly good. When the very beef-like burger came out, I thought I’d been delivered the wrong thing!
After realizing my interpretation error, I happily devoured that burger and have been an unabashed fake meat fan ever since. Fake meat, as a concept, has always sounded terribly unappealing, and I’m not sure I ever would have tried it if I hadn’t tried it by accident."— Laura James, Palm Springs, Calif.
The nomads shopping at Walmarts to sell on Amazon (Josh Dzieza — The Verge)
China leads a global clean energy spending stall (Ben Geman — Axios)
Automakers overpromised — now what? (Jeffrey Rothfeder — Fast Company)
The new workers of the world (Vauhini Vara — Bloomberg)
Asking the machines about consciousness (John Pavlus — Quanta)
Photo: Francois Ancellet/Gamma-Rapho/Getty
On Tuesday, we wrote about the changes underway in trucker culture. Jason Eastman, a professor at Coastal Carolina University, responded that he's been studying trucker culture for a decade, using a particular lens — the songs they sing.
I asked Jason what song exemplifies what's going on now. He responded with a 1978 recording of "Truck Drivin' Outlaw" by Dennis Olson, which he said "best captures the current situation with a decline in the industry and how it’s undermining masculine autonomy. It’s also fitting because these songs tend to be recorded over and over again by different artists."
Jason adds: "Joey Holiday also writes a lot about trucker solidarity in the face of industry change, but unfortunately there’s not one song that fits the current situation as he tends to sprinkle these ideas throughout his catalog."