DevAccelerator Spotlight: Alethea.ai
This is a part of a series highlighting the work of developers on the Oasis Network through the new DevAccelerator Program. Go here to learn more about the program and apply.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Arif and I’m the CEO and Co-founder of Alethea AI. We’re building a blockchain-based marketplace for Synthetic Media.
And a bit about your project?
Alethea AI’s mission is to enable a fully decentralized community of creators, developers and viewers to create and share new forms of AI-generated content. We have assembled a dedicated team of AI researchers, blockchain developers and business leadership to execute on our mission.
Memes and synthetic media are novel, fun, and interesting. But, what about it should we take seriously?
Synthetic (AI) Media can be a truth serum for a society distorted and disoriented by fake news. This sounds somewhat counterintuitive at first, but makes sense when you realize the power of film, cinema and storytelling to set the record straight on historical events.
I like to reference the work of Philip K Dick, specifically, “The Man in the High Castle”. It is a story about an alternate reality where somehow the Axis powers win World War II, instead of the Allies.
In the book and excellent Amazon series, the US is split in two, with the East Coast under the control of Berlin and the West Coast, under the control of Nippon. What is universal across the two dictatorial regimes is that they are interested in controlling the imagery and symbology of the society. No Free speech, no ability to reason outside of state sanctioned boundaries and no symbols that go against propaganda. In this state of crisis, “deepfake” films that look highly realistic start to emerge showing the Allies winning the war. Society then begins its revolt stirred by powerful imagery.
It is somewhat naive for us to think that we live in a free world of information considering the level of control and self-censorship we subject ourselves to as a species. We punish truly contrarian thinkers, only sometimes to reward them centuries after their death. It’s in this vacuum where I think Synthetic media and powerful storytelling tools can provide meaningful alternatives or even break existing reality bubbles. Much like the Gutenberg press, this revolution can enable us to higher and nobler pursuits as a civilization.
When and why did you first get excited about blockchain technology?
I read the Bitcoin whitepaper in early 2017 and the Ethereum whitepaper shortly after. I had left my job at LinkedIn and was transitioning to lead Product Marketing to Drivers at Grab in South East Asia. 8 months later, I found myself in San Francisco and joined a blockchain start-up to lead their marketing as their CMO.
The deep fake campaign with CZ got a lot of press. What was his reaction to it?
He was kind enough to retweet it to his followers and I’ve heard that he secretly reviews that video to up his three-fingered push-up game every now and then.
Rumor has it that when CZ does push-ups he doesn’t push himself up, he pushes the earth down. (This question might just inspire our next Synthetic Chuck Norris Meme!)
What made you interested in building on the Oasis network?
Principally, our need for confidentiality. The “Creators” on our platform will not only be sharing user-generated content for the wider public, they will also need to transact on an individual basis for custom requests. For the sake of the creator, but more so for users, these cannot be public, they need to be kept secret. We did a quick public survey to understand the needs of our prospective users and “secrecy” ranked first along with “data security”. This process involves sharing personal biometric data between parties. Exposing such transactions on a open blockchain is not ideal. Security aside, the exchanges between creators and users will involve the sharing of sensitive data as well as the sharing of the final product i.e an AI-generated video. The back and forth between the user and the creator means that voice data or other biometric data will need to be recorded; stored temporarily; accessible by creators via our APIs; used to train our model; and then produce the final piece of content.
The storage of data is what we are more concerned about here, not only will it need to be absolutely secure, we will also need to ensure that creators cannot use that data beyond the specific request of the user. Limiting permissions on data usage and ensuring that both parties can transact privately is paramount to our project. Oasis’ integrity and security features appear to center around those specific needs in a way that the Ethereum blockchain simply cannot due to its open/public dimension, although more recent innovations in the Ethereum community like Tornado Cash are being closely monitored by our team.
Any big milestones coming up for your project that our readers should know about?
Yes, we’ll be launching our marketplace very shortly and our creator program in Q2
How can others try out your product? Learn more about what you’re up to?
Anything else you’d like to share?
Thank you to the Oasis team for giving us the platform to share our message and story.