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]

Samizdata quote of the day – Deep Fake edition

Specially trained and reliable witnesses would certainly be a help. But, of course, they’re humans and thus fallible and corruptible. (Heinlein, a creature of his times, was a pretty big believer in institutions and professionalism. The past decade has largely served as a refutation of both. And even in his day, the institutions and professions were less trustworthy than we thought; it was just harder to find out when they were lying, sort of a meta-case of what I’m writing about here.)

Technology might help some, as it will probably soon be able to tell if people are lying via brain scans with high reliability. (I doubt it will be able to tell if they’re just wrong, though). And that technology offers its own set of – very troubling — problems that go way beyond this essay.

Glenn Reynolds

6 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – Deep Fake edition

  • Fraser Orr

    @bobby b is the expert on this stuff, but I think the reality is this: most criminals are dumb as a box of rocks, they leave their fingerprints everywhere, or call the victim from their mother’s phone, or put the murder weapon under their bed, or get drunk and brag about it in the local bar. Moreover, crimes seem to often be done without much planning so little consideration is given to disguising the evidence. I am pretty sure, with a bit of planning and research, I could get away with murder with a very low chance of getting caught. Not that I plan to, of course 😀

    Sophisticated criminals don’t get caught because they are already too smart for the brute force methods of the cops. White collar crimes tend to leave an audit trail, and use computer guys to investigate rather than PC Plod, so are a lot different. But for sure, I guarantee the number of white collar criminals who are caught is much less than 0.1% of those committing crimes.

    And even with more visible, more newsworthy crimes, the murder clearance rate in New York is currently 20%.

    So, I’m afraid faked photos are so far down the list they don’t figure in the spectrum of “problems in the criminal justice system.”

    They might be more relevant in non criminal cases though.

    Having said that my law degree comes from Watching Jack McCoy and Lenny Briscoe. So, probably my opinion and $2 will get you a Starbucks.

  • Fraser Orr

    And, and FWIW, the new standard in New York City is to place the horrendous crime of “bad bookkeeping” above murder, robbery, rape and assault. So, I am hoping the DA starts a special task force, armed with pocket calculators and Excel to make sure all those careless rounding errors, spelling mistakes and poor font selections are caught. I’m grateful we will be protected the public from an onslaught of such CPA sloppiness. You might be murdered in your bed, but at least the columns in your ledger will add up correctly.

  • Paul Marks

    We seem to be heading for a “New Dark Age made more prolonged by perverted technology”.

  • AndrewZ

    We are rapidly approaching the point at which every institution will have been exposed as partisan and fallible at best. We are also approaching the point at which audio or video of any conceivable event can be faked with minimal effort. The next generation will take it for granted that anything they didn’t personally witness could be fake, because pranking their childhood friends and rivals with fake videos made on their phones will become a normal part of growing up. We will rapidly go from “pics or it didn’t happen” to “all pics are fake” and not trusting anything that we didn’t personally witness, or the word of anyone that we don’t personally know.

  • bobby b

    But, AndrewZ, we’ll still have our tribalism, and so none of us will ever have to worry about discerning “truth.” “Truth” will simply be what our side announces it to be.

    We’ll hardly notice the difference.

  • Paul Marks

    bobby b – as you know Sir, reality bites back.

    For example, government agencies and the vast corporations (which are jointed at the hip) may all declare that certain injections are “safe” – but the people the injections kill are still dead.

    Truth is objective – it is not determined by “our side” or by any other side.