We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Katie Jones is the face of the future

“That LinkedIn connection could be a spy using a fake, AI-generated face”, warns Raphael Satter of the Associated Press in the Tampa Bay Times.

LONDON — Katie Jones sure seemed plugged into the Washington’s political scene. The 30-something redhead boasted a job at a top think tank and a who’s-who network of pundits and experts, from the centrist Brookings Institution to the right-wing Heritage Foundation. She was connected to a deputy assistant secretary of state, a senior aide to a senator and the economist Paul Winfree, who is being considered for a seat on the Federal Reserve.

But Katie Jones doesn’t exist, the Associated Press has determined. Instead, the persona was part of a vast army of phantom profiles lurking on the professional networking site LinkedIn.

So what’s new? Haven’t the Russkies been stealing people’s photos for years and using them to illustrate fake profiles on sites like LinkedIn? They have, but on this occasion it seems that the one thing of which they were not guilty was identity theft:

Several experts contacted by the Associated Press said Jones’ profile picture appeared to have been created by a computer program.

“I’m convinced that it’s a fake face,” said Mario Klingemann, a German artist who has been experimenting for years with artificially generated portraits and says he has reviewed tens of thousands of such images. “It has all the hallmarks.”

Klingemann and other experts said the photo — a closely cropped portrait of a woman with blue-green eyes, copper-colored hair and an enigmatic smile — appeared to have been created using a family of dueling computer programs called generative adversarial networks, or GANs, that can create realistic-looking faces of entirely imaginary people. GANs, sometimes described as a form of artificial intelligence, have been the cause of increasing concern for policymakers already struggling to get a handle on digital disinformation.

Katie is telling us that the era of evidence is drawing to a close. What changes will this bring?

17 comments to Katie Jones is the face of the future

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    Trump talked about fake news, and now we have the appropriate newscasters! As a critic, I am real, but how soon will it be before robots and computers also make up the audience for all news?

  • CaptDMO

    “What changes will this bring?”
    Credentialed, licensed, and registered, “Fair Witness” of course.-“Stranger In A Strange Land”
    In the US, we call the “registered para-Fair Witness” folks Notaries Public.
    IIRC, only good for “Has been Positively Identified*, and in my presence did affix their signature, or seal, to this document”
    ALL banks have them in their employ, USUALLY always one on duty. I suspect most law/ real estate offices do as well.
    The US$2-3.00 fee is traditionally waived for the banks account holders.
    * I THINK P.K.M. [Personally Known to Me], as in “I changed the diapers of BOTH his parents, counts for this.

  • Mr Ed

    Since LinkedIn is a public social network used for, er, I’ll get back to you in that, it’s hard to see the harm done. So Fake Kate’s controllers can see job adverts and recruiters, inspirational stories of people overcoming handicaps, presumptions and prejudice, find out about conferences and get spammed herself.

    Perhaps her photo has been made to look like an ‘Illegal’, with the hope of reverse-engineering an identity? Better to get a social security number, isn’t it?

  • bobby b

    “Since LinkedIn is a public social network used for, er, I’ll get back to you in that . . . “

    As one example, every corporate/bigfirm lawyer I know has a bio set up on LinkedIn, simply to keep their name and qualifications out there in the market. A large percentage of hires in the corporate legal world result from the networking done through LinkedIn.

    It’s personal marketing (i.e., to keep up your personal network in the legal world) and it also works as a huge catalog of lawyers for recruiters to browse.

    It’s like a Facebook for professionals. I used to get lots of messages from lawyers I didn’t know, looking to pick my brain on topics that I had listed as being my current areas, as well as looking to share info with me that they thought might help my cases. (If you did lots of work for, say, public entities, or insurers, or pawn shops, or . . . then you had an interest in helping fellow lawyers working in those areas as they sought to establish court precedent that was favorable to your clients. So, lots of sharing.)

  • Rudolph Hucker

    I’m always cautious about accepting invitations from women I don’t know, especially if I don’t have Mrs Hucker’s approval. She says I can look but I mustn’t touch.

    Anyway, all my other LinkedIn contacts seem fine. I just had messages from Lord Lucan and Tony Blair inviting me to a meet-up. That’s nice, I didn’t realise how well-connected I’ve become!

  • Rob

    Do you have to take an Oath on joining that site?

    As for the age of evidence being over, well we are a decade into an age of our elites and government disregarding it anyway, does it matter if it can now be convincingly faked?

  • Is there perhaps a business opportunity here, to create an ‘actually-linked-in’ framework, using block-chain-technology no doubt, to record genuine physical encounters of real people with other real people to establish a chain of such links from someone you’ve actually met to someone you’ve virtually met?

    It could function like that “Noel Coward, who had a friend whose cousin knew a man who’d met a chap who once saw a cockney from quite near.” Or a thoroughly cleaned-up version of the old song. “I met up with Natalie and she’d met up with Perry. He once visited Alisa …”

    Of course, it would only work till the terminators arrive.

    I will try and think of more serious ways to defend the truth against its many enemies and this new toy of theirs.

  • Tim the Coder

    Age of evidence over…..
    Michael Crichton wrote a book about it long ago(of course!).
    Rising Sun.
    Even the CCTV, and the reflections in the CCTV are faked – or maybe they aren’t. No one can tell. It’s a good story well told.

  • pete

    What changes will this bring?

    Not many.

    The age of evidence ended years ago, if it ever existed.

    The state nationalisation of the BBC and its subsequent iron regulatory grip on all broadcasting in the UK has meant that the main source of news for most people for 90 years has been little more than propaganda.

  • The part of this article that terrified me was:

    On Thursday, U.S. lawmakers are due to hold their first hearing devoted primarily to the threat of artificially generated imagery.

  • I challenge the cynicism of Runcie and pete above. It is 15 years since Dan Rather got caught using faked evidence. Is it even 15 months since a doctored video against Trump was credited by J.k.Rowling on Friday but by Monday she knew it was fake? Well-pushed lies are everywhere but are not everywhere victorious. There is push-back – and the means to push-back.

    Pure cynicism is not a strategy for victory.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I’m always suspicious of invites from women who are hot-looking and whose job/business area has no connection to mine. I usually then ask a question of why they want to contact me. If they act offended at being asked I delete them immediately

  • Rob Fisher (Surrey)

    This video is where I learned what generative adversarial networks (in which one machine learning algorithm trains another) can do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSLJriaOumA

    To me it’s just cool and interesting tech. It doesn’t just work on faces: it can combine pictures of cars and interior designs and generate what looks like real new car designs and room designs.

    Will people use it for nefarious ends? They’ll use a stick for nefarious ends. Is it a new age of anything? I’m not sure. People have always been really good at lying. I’m mainly worried about the part Perry de Havilland is worried about (what the lawmakers will use this as an excuse for).

  • Have not doctored audio recordings been used, alleged and talked about for decades.

    Is there a conceptual difference with photographs and/or video?

    Best regards

  • Mr Ed

    the threat of artificially generated imagery.

    So they’ll be talked into passing a law somehow, First Amendment aside, banning the works of Tintoretto, Michaelangelo, Titian etc. Watch out the Getty Museum.

  • Can they do the full deep fake for Titania McGrath yet?

    (Virtual) she should get a show on an cable (alleged) news network, CNN.