The U.S. government is planning to use deepfake videos in online propaganda and deception campaigns.
According to a report published on Monday by The Intercept, procurement documents reveal that the United States Special Operations Command may soon utilize deepfake technology in influence operations on the internet.
The documents outline Special Operations Command’s goals to procure deepfake “technologies for influence operations, digital deception, communication disruption, and disinformation campaigns at the tactical edge and operational levels.”
In the documents, Special Operations Command explains that it wants to increase previous internet deception efforts using “next-generation” deepfake videos.
The Special Operations Command hopes to make use of this deepfaked footage to “generate messages and influence operations via non-traditional channels.”
The Special Operations Command’s plan to develop and use this particular artificially intelligent (AI) technology is in direct conflict with the U.S. government’s repeated warnings about the risks of deepfakes.
Last year, the FBI issued a warning that a rising number of scammers are using deepfake technology to impersonate job candidates during interviews for remote positions.
“When it comes to disinformation, the Pentagon should not be fighting fire with fire,” Chris Meserole, head of the Brookings Institution’s Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technology Initiative, tells The Intercept.
“At a time when digital propaganda is on the rise globally, the U.S. should be doing everything it can to strengthen democracy by building support for shared notions of truth and reality. Deepfakes do the opposite.
“By casting doubt on the credibility of all content and information, whether real or synthetic, they ultimately erode the foundation of democracy itself.
“If deepfakes are going to be leveraged for targeted military and intelligence operations, then their use needs to be subject to review and oversight.”
According to The Intercept, the documents represent a nearly unprecedented example of any national government, let alone the U.S. government, openly communicating its desire to use the highly controversial technology offensively.
Last week, PetaPixel reported that Venezuela’s government was secretly using deepfaked television presenters to spread disinformation.
Venezuelan state-owned television station VTV has been using AI-generated English-speaking hosts from a fictitious American news agency to share falsely positive news coverage about the country.
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.