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How tech companies are approaching AI-generated image detection

How tech companies are approaching AI-generated image detection


New York CNN —

Last month, an image purportedly of an explosion near the Pentagon briefly went viral on social media, sparking panic and a market crash. The image bore all the hallmarks of being generated by AI, but was later debunked by authorities.

But according to Truepic CEO Jeffrey McGregor, this is just the tip of the iceberg of what’s to come. In his words, more AI-generated content would start appearing on social media, but we weren’t ready for it.

McGregors is working to resolve this issue. Truepic provides technology that claims to authenticate media at the point of creation through the Truepic lens. The application captures data such as the date, time, location, and device used to create the image, and applies a digital signature to determine if the image is organic, or has been manipulated or generated by AI. to verify whether it is

Backed by Microsoft, Truepic was founded in 2015, several years before AI-powered image generation tools such as Dall-E and Midjourney were launched. McGregor now has interest in the company from businesses that want to make sure claims are legitimate, from NGOs to media companies to insurance companies, and everyone making decisions based on photos. said he received it.

McGregor said that when something can be faked, everything can be fake. Knowing that generative AI has reached a tipping point in quality and accessibility, we no longer know what the reality was when we were online.

While technology companies like Truepic have been working to combat misinformation online for years, new AI tools are emerging that can quickly generate compelling images and sentences in response to user prompts. has added a new urgency to these efforts. In recent months, an AI-generated image of Pope Francis in a down jacket has gone viral, and an AI-generated image of former President Donald Trump being arrested shortly before he was indicted was widely shared.

Some lawmakers are now calling on tech companies to address the issue. European Commission Vice-President Vera Julova said on Monday that the signatories of the “EU Code of Practice on Disinformation”, a list that includes Google, Meta, Microsoft and TikTok, should be made aware of such content and made clear to users. He called for the introduction of labeling technology.

A growing number of start-ups and big tech companies, including those that are implementing generative AI technology in their products, are working to help people determine if an image or video was made with AI. We are trying to introduce standards and solutions. Some of these companies have names like Reality Defender, but this is the potential of this effort to protect our very sense of what is real and what is not. It speaks to a significant risk.

However, AI technology is developing faster than humans can keep up, so it’s unclear if these technical solutions can fully address the problem. Even his OpenAI, which developed Dall-E and ChatGPT, acknowledged earlier this year that its efforts to help detect AI-generated text rather than images are imperfect and should be taken with a grain of salt. warned.

Hany Farid, a digital forensics expert and professor at the University of California, Berkeley, told CNN that this is mitigation, not eradication. I don’t think it’s a lost cause, but I do think there’s a lot of work to be done.

Farid said the hope is to reach a point where teens in the basement of their parents’ house can’t create an image to sway elections or move $5 trillion in markets.

Companies are taking two broad approaches to addressing this issue.

One tactic relies on developing a program to identify AI-generated images after they have been created and shared online. The other focuses on using a kind of digital signature to mark an image as real or as AI-generated in conception.

Reality Defender and Hive Moderation are working on the former. The company’s platform allows users to upload an existing image to scan and receive an instant breakdown showing the probability that the image is real or AI-generated based on large amounts of data. I can.

Reality Defender, which launched before generative AI was a buzzword and was part of the competitive Silicon Valley tech accelerator Y Combinator, uses proprietary deepfake and generative content fingerprinting techniques to , which says it identifies AI-generated video, audio, and images.

In the example provided by the company, Reality Defender highlighted a deepfake image of Tom Cruise as 53% suspicious and found evidence of distorted faces, a common artifact of image manipulation. Tell your users.

If this issue becomes a frequent concern for businesses and individuals, defending reality can become a lucrative business. These services offer limited free demos and paid tiers. Hive Moderation says it charges $1.50 per 1,000 images, with an annual contract deal offering additional discounts. Realty Defender said prices can vary based on a number of factors, including whether the client requires bespoke elements that require the expertise and assistance of our team.

Reality Defender CEO Ben Coleman told CNN that risk is doubling every month. Anyone can do this. A PhD in computer science is not required. You don’t have to start a server with Amazon. You don’t need to know how to create ransomware. Anyone can do this just by googling fake face generator.

Hive Moderation CEO Kevin Guo described it as an arms race.

We need to keep watching all the new ways people create this content all the time, understand it and add it to our dataset to sort out the future, Guo told CNN. . Right now, AI-generated content is certainly a few percent, but I think that will change in the next few years.

As another preventative approach, some big tech companies put a kind of watermark on images to prove whether the media was authentic or AI-generated when it was first created. I am working on incorporating it. So far, this effort has been primarily driven by C2PA (Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity).

C2PA was founded in 2021 to create technical standards for authenticating sources and histories of digital media. It combines the work of the Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI), led by Adobe, and Project Origin, an initiative led by Microsoft and the BBC focused on combating misinformation in digital news. Other companies involved in C2PA include Truepic, Intel and Sony.

Based on C2PA guidelines, CAI is creating open source tools for companies to create content credentials, metadata containing information about images. According to CAI’s website, this will allow creators to transparently share the details of how an image was created. In this way, end-her users can access the context of who, what, and how the photo was altered, and determine for themselves how authentic the image is.

Adobe doesn’t have a revenue center for this. CAI senior director Andy Parsons told CNN that he does it because he thinks it has to exist. We believe this is a very important and fundamental countermeasure against misinformation and disinformation.

Many companies have already integrated the C2PA standard and CAI tools into their applications. Adobe Firefly, an AI image generation tool recently added to Photoshop, follows the standard through its Content Credentials feature. Microsoft also announced that AI art created by Bing Image Creator and Microsoft Designer will be cryptographically signed in the coming months.

Other tech companies like Google seem to be pursuing strategies that draw a little from both approaches.

Google unveiled a tool called “About this image” in May that will tell you when an image found on a site was indexed by Google, where the image may have first appeared, and where it can be found elsewhere online. The user can check whether the The company also announced that all AI-generated images created by Google will include markup in the original file to provide context if the image is found on another website or platform.

Technology companies are trying to address concerns about the integrity of AI-generated images and digital media, but experts in the field say they will eventually work together with each other and with governments. stresses the need to deal with the problem

“We will need Twitter and Facebook all over the world to take this issue more seriously and to stop fake advertising and start real advertising,” Farid said. Told. There is a regulation part that we are not talking about. There is a part of education that we are not talking about.

Parsons agreed. It is not a single company, a single government, or a single individual in academia that will make this possible, he said. Everyone should participate.

But for now, tech companies continue to push more AI tools into the world.




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