• Frank Makrides

How Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence are Disrupting Digital Data

Updated: Sep 21, 2020

You may have heard how deepfake videos have set the social media world abuzz, taking a hatchet to the old term "seeing is believing." Simply put, deepfakes are allowing content creators to produce fake videos using advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that seamlessly swaps faces and puts words in people's mouths in ways that appear very realistic and believable. To complicate matters, rapid advancements in AI technology are making these fake videos even more seamless and harder to detect, often without the forensic traces found in videos modified by more primitive means. While this problem is creating chaos in a social media world already plagued by “fake news” debates, it also carries serious implications for other organizations that rely on digital photos, media and data.

Consider insurance, public safety, banking, healthcare and other industries that rely on photos and videos and the possible adverse outcomes from an inundation of AI-altered fake media. While gut reactions to this growing cyber-threat may range from absolute panic to simple inaction in the futile hope that the threat spontaneously vanishes, a better approach is to build a solid defense against fake media before it permeates these organizations. This is particularly important for industries embracing self-service as the replacement for manual, in-person processes in light of the continuing outbreak and social distancing requirements of COVID-19.

Companies like Attestiv, using the combination of AI and blockchain (or distributed ledger technology) have been able to carve a solid defense for organizations to put authenticity back into digital media. As some of you may be asking how a couple of tech buzzwords can help address such a difficult problem, the answer lies in a simple analogy to a Registry of Deeds. A Deed is a document that has been verified by an authorized individual and stored securely so that any potential tampering would be obvious. A distributed ledger is comparable to the Registry as it provides protection against any tampering because of its strong cryptography and a consensus model that requires a majority of stakeholders to agree to any changes. AI is analogous to the authorized individual who can verify the contents and authenticity of digital media prior to committing it to the Registry. Now imagine a large digital registry that can verify the authenticity of any important media content in real-time and you have a solution.

While breaking it down into simple terms makes it easier to understand, there are a lot of details around how it is all done. For those interested in learning more about combating fake digital media, Attestiv recently published an eBook, with a focus on insurance organizations, that takes an unbiased and more detailed look at the different options available.

As is often the case, difficult problems demand breakthrough solutions and the convergence of Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence represents new fuel for innovation. Beyond solving the problem of fakes, it presents a new foundation for trusted self-service processes with the opportunity to disrupt the current methodologies of how digital data is managed and shared.

Nicos Vekirarides book recommendation: Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath

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