The Future of Fake News

I’ve listened to the first half of Radiolab’s “Breaking News” episode and I’m terrified. Or maybe I’m just over 35. In a nutshell, the time where you can easily produce convincingly real “fake audio” and “fake video” (and mash the two together) is just around the corner.

This is the future of fake news. If people can be fooled by fact-less text, fake quotes stuck next to photos, photoshopped pictures and memes, even though we know all these things exist… What is going to happen when pretty much anybody can make anybody else (including 45 or other political figures) say anything?

At one point in the distant future we might get over it. We may learn not to trust anything recorded anymore, because it might be fake. We might fall back on face-to-face presence, being there in meatspace, seeing and hearing unmediated.

I have no concern that forensic scientists will be able to tell doctored media from undoctored media. But that will not help the court of public opinion much.

I’m worried that we, as a society, a culture, will not be able to learn fast enough to stay ahead of how technology is changing our access to information, and that this will be the end of the world as we know it.

Hopefully, it’s just that I’m over 35.


Originally published at Climb to the Stars.