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"AI a major threat to truth today and into the future" Topic

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Garde de Paris31 May 2020 5:40 a.m. PST

See the AI topic on 26 May on the Napoleonic board- a realistic photo of Napoleon as thought he is alive today.

TMP link

This technlolgy will make it possible to make slanderous, fake, videos of prominent personalities – even of you! Much to be feared. Could start WWIII!

I turned on my computer this morning to the attached article:



Dynaman878931 May 2020 5:55 a.m. PST


Robert le Diable31 May 2020 6:11 a.m. PST

Yes, I too was struck by the possibilities of creating convincing Fantasy (in the very broadest sense) on reading this material; though quite new to me, it was evident that the existence and potential of this technology is already widely known, and I've followed up some information – Internet, nothing remotely "classified" – which seems reassuring. There is, it appears, also technology specifically designed to detect "DeepFakes", so we can breathe easy. As long as we can trust the technology and its controllers.

I'd still be interested to know what can be done with recreating the human voice from numerous recordings, in order to make a convincing speech, or song, from samples of a person's own voice (not an impersonator). After all, would not such a recording display the characteristic sound-patterns of the individual? With increasing use of "Voice Recognition" technology, there are surely enough nefarious uses to make this development likely too.

Garde de Paris31 May 2020 6:11 a.m. PST

Great "mixed metaphore," Dynaman! I first though this was a characature of your gobernor adjusting his teeth, but then realized you were suggesting to…

"get out the popcorn! Here comes a fight!"

I wish you well in New Jersey. Anarchists burning our cities across the country, and a shopping mall 2 miles northwest of me (Pottstown, PA), and 4 miles southeast King of Prussia, PA).

Be safe!


robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2020 6:18 a.m. PST

Garde de Paris, that ship sailed long ago. Check out the history of Hitler and the "victory jig"


Or you could study the Donation of Constantine.


Methods of falsification and methods of detecting falsification both continually improve. If you want to know the truth, you will have to examine evidence carefully--just the way you always have had to.

Robert le Diable31 May 2020 6:25 a.m. PST

G de P: the second "Link" above didn't work in this thread, but did in the other one, curiously enough. This new Technology is indeed a powerful weapon in what might be termed, broadly, a Political milieu. After all, we know how powerful Fake News can be, even without this new "ocular proof". You'll still hear people saying how an invading army stole incubators from a Maternity Hospital, even though it has been proven that the "nurse" who was filmed tearfully telling the story was nothing of the kind. In fact, she'd never worked a day in her life, like most people born into such an exalted position. No names, locations, dates, just relying on memory.
Good Luck.
R le D, still wearing the Kilt!

USAFpilot31 May 2020 6:36 a.m. PST

AI is not the threat. Technology is constantly changing. Fake, false, counterfeit, disinformation, etc, has been with us a long time. Just look at all the 24 hour news channels which spew nonstop agenda driven propaganda all in the interest of selling advertising to big pharmaceutical companies. The question is do people have the intelligence to view such information with a critical eye and to realize when they are being manipulated. Sun Tze said is best, "All warfare is based upon deception". Technology changes, humans remain the same.

bsrlee31 May 2020 6:49 a.m. PST

Photo faking is almost as old as photography itself – look at all those old 'hunters with dinosaur' photos for starters.

Audio is another matter, I was marginally involved with evidence for criminal matters and there were all sorts of things that could be done with analog audio recordings to detect cut-and-paste in those. The same sort of thing could be used on digital 'recordings' to detect where splicing takes place but with digital it seems likely that you will eventually be able to extract just the speakers audio from the background then paste that onto another background.

Much the same sort of thing applies to emails and faxes vs Telex – Telex is also nearly impossible to fake (I know how, but a lot depends on the sophistication of the receiver) but emails and particularly faxes have been pretty easily hackable, so the recipient can't tell, since at least the 1980's using technology from the local electronics hobby store.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2020 7:21 a.m. PST

the possibilities of creating convincing Fantasy

Fake, false, counterfeit, disinformation, etc, has been with us a long time.

People have been doing this for thousands of years… methods change, but folks always figure out how to do it 'convincingly.'

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2020 8:18 a.m. PST

You know, I only wish outright fabrication were the real problem. Take a good look at your news feeds, and take a look at how often they cite unnamed sources or a vague "expert consensus"--or treat opinion as fact. Observe the carefully edited audio, video and text. Watch how good they are at NOT giving space or air time to those who might disagree and force them to actually prove a case. Outright fraud is the least of the available tools.

But why are doing this on The Miniatures Page?

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP31 May 2020 8:23 a.m. PST

The same sort of thing could be used on digital 'recordings' to detect where splicing takes place

Deepfake voice is not done by splicing. You analyze timbre and diction to generate a speech generation profile. You basically create a simulation of the original speaker's larynx and speech patterns. Then you run it with your words.

It's also not really an AI domain. It's cluster analysis (mathematically looking at lots of data to determine what are the interesting parts the same way you eye and brain look at a very small (comparatively) much less complex (comparatively) amount of data on your screen and figure out where to look for words.

That type of cluster analysis can be done with AI, but given our understanding of the target domain (human speech patterns), it's not needed and it's less efficient, or a cheaper (fiscally) option if you don't actually want to speak to human speech professionals.

Same thing with elimination of background noise to isolate a specific sound cluster (the target voice in this case). AI is not needed, but could be used.

Splicing sounds is cheaper/easier than the above deepfake method, but it is also waaaaaay easier to detect. It depends on whom your target audience is.

The same sort of thing could be used on digital 'recordings' to detect where splicing takes place

Gotta disagree. A Telex signal is easy to fake. Authorized network access is difficult to obtain.

emails and particularly faxes have been pretty easily hackable

Neither email not fax has repudiation or authentication. They simply trust what the sender tells them th origin is. There is no way to tell a fake from within the communications medium. All authentication and repudiation is external to the communication.

Telex would have the same problem today, unless it were operating on one of the few remaining circuit switched networks.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP31 May 2020 8:28 a.m. PST

The real issue with false information is cognitive bias on the part of the audience.

If you tell people something that sounds like what they want to hear, they will accept it and look no further.

If you tell people something that sounds like what they don't want to hear, they will pick at it until they are no longer bothered by their own world view.

This is an evolutionarily imprinted imperative. Having a structured, unbiased investigation into an issue takes time and significant effort. Most people do not want to invest that effort into every possible thing that could be investigated in that way. The ones that do tend to get eaten by a lion while deciding whether or not it is dangerous.

Garde de Paris31 May 2020 9:03 a.m. PST

I brought this topic to the miniatures page because of the comment about fake photos to start a WWIII.

Also, could be used to start riots across a country, such as we have now in the USA.

Potential Urban Warfare scenarios, with some "leaders" saying they started with teams of White Supremecists; others with left-wing fascist/socialists group "Antifa"; "Black Lives Matter": "Black Panthers"; etc.


Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2020 9:36 a.m. PST

You can go back to Forrest Gump to see convincing video manipulation.

Unfortunaely, we have two generations who believe what they see on tv and the internet. To them seeing is believing.

Asteroid X31 May 2020 10:11 a.m. PST

Very true, sadly.

Legionarius31 May 2020 10:19 a.m. PST

We live in an age of utter disregard for truth and shameless manipulation. However, sooner or later, cold hard facts will hit certain people right between the eyes. Unfortunately, the masses and many unfortunates pay for the sins of the so-called "greats."

Nine pound round31 May 2020 11:26 a.m. PST

It was so much simpler when a good court painter could pretty everything up.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2020 11:59 a.m. PST

THAT'S whats going to start WWIII? What's wrong with our traditional ways of starting major conflicts?
1. War is inevitable.
2. Time is works for the other side.
3. Anyway, they're not going to fight over Chalkidiki/Saguntum/A Scrap of Paper. And
4. We'll be home before the leaves fall.

Some combination of those four has worked for all recorded history. What would we do with some faked photos?

CamelCase31 May 2020 2:05 p.m. PST

Somebody needs to break quarantine

Nine pound round31 May 2020 3:27 p.m. PST

We've got our black swan. Now we get to see where it takes us. The problem is that two kinds of people arise in crises: those who want to solve them, and those who want to take advantage of them.

+1 to Robert for his list…..part of the problem comes when all four of those arguments get raised by the same General Staff…..

SHaT198431 May 2020 3:45 p.m. PST

How about not in Napoleonics et al…

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2020 3:55 p.m. PST

Thank you, Nine Pound. But not just the same general staff: consider both general staffs, think of the diplomatic corps, and consider the senior politicians. Frequently at the start of a major conflict, both sides are rushing toward the precipice.

Oh, you can sometimes get a little propaganda advantage out of a faked photo, a bogus news report or putting some corpses in enemy uniforms, but starting a war is usually an exercise in self-deception. No pixel manipulation required.

Hmm. Possibly I should have added
5. The other side hasn't the discipline or cohesion for a long war. And
6. If we don't go to war, my party will take a hit at the next election.

Oh. And it's three kinds, I think: there's always someone who sees a crisis and just wants to kick the can down the road a bit. Mind you, you really can outlast some problems--the trick being to identify which ones--and sometimes the way to take advantage of a problem is to solve it.

Nine pound round31 May 2020 6:09 p.m. PST

Your third kind is the ordinary legislative time-server who turns to the other two for guidance in a crisis.

I sort of agree, but your language made me think of WWI. I should add that, while I don't accept all of Fritz Fischer's conclusions, I tend to believe that the acceptance of the arguments you listed by the German government made the war inevitable and gave it at least its initial shape. I see most of the others as being pulled in by obligations of one sort or another (and I have always been fascinated by the accounts of the Asquith government's deliberations, and the dawning realization of how fully they were committed), rather than a desire for it as a specific choice.

But we are OT and picking up speed, surely there must be a Napoleonic figure whose reputation is awaiting a good old fashioned TMP beat down?

Handlebarbleep31 May 2020 6:29 p.m. PST

@Nine pound round

"But we are OT and picking up speed, surely there must be a Napoleonic figure whose reputation is awaiting a good old fashioned TMP beat down?"

Do you mean besides Napoleon?

The problem there is less about fake news, but getting people to see the truth. When asked to judge between the highly unlikely benevolent supreme genius and the much more likely gifted but ultimately flawed (ie human) being, well the cognitive biases play out. Any attempt to introduce the merest note of reality and you find yourself accused of being an "anti". All the AI in the world will not solve that one. I was once accused of spouting anti-Napoleon propaganda when I was actually quoting Napoleon!

Like conspiracy theorists, the harder you push facts the deeper you ingrain their beliefs. Ultimately, we prefer to keep our heroes on their untarnished pedestals rather than admit they have feet of clay like the rest of us.

Robert le Diable31 May 2020 6:38 p.m. PST

Please, Handlebarbleep, tell us what you were quoting?
Hope it wasn't something like "I'm not duplicitous, I just change my mind".

Nine pound round31 May 2020 6:51 p.m. PST

I think I know the phenomenon you're describing. It's unfortunate. It's also endemic on the internet. I think the best solution I have ever seen is, "don't feed the troll," i.e., don't bother arguing with someone who's just going to behave badly. There really are people of goodwill on TMP who will help you find an answer to a crowdsourced question, and there are also people who are just waiting for a chance to flame someone, preferably over some trivial semantic point. Often they're the same person.

I tend to think Napoleon was a truly remarkable general- certainly the greatest of his age, and possibly the greatest ever, not that it's any simple task to arrive at that latter conclusion. Those are both debatable propositions, which is a big part of the reason this board exists. They're not simply resolved by declaring a certain perspective invalid or illegitimate. That kind of stuff happens a lot here (and it sometimes appears that individual antagonisms on both sides fuel the spiral), but it's not hard to figure out which threads generate light, and which ones generate heat, so you can take them or leave them, as you prefer, I guess.

USAFpilot31 May 2020 7:56 p.m. PST

I tend to think Napoleon was a truly remarkable general- certainly the greatest of his age

Napoleon was also a master propagandist and self promoter. "As early as his 1796 campaign in Italy he was having prints produced showing heroic images that promoted his leadership. These prints were sold throughout France and contributed significantly to his growing popularity." -from Imperial Glory by J. David Markham.

Dn Jackson Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2020 9:34 p.m. PST

I'm with Stone Mountain. I've been worried about this sort of thing since Forest Gump.

15mm and 28mm Fanatik01 Jun 2020 7:53 a.m. PST

The real issue with false information is cognitive bias on the part of the audience.

If you tell people something that sounds like what they want to hear, they will accept it and look no further.

If you tell people something that sounds like what they don't want to hear, they will pick at it until they are no longer bothered by their own world view.

True. Now more so than ever. Facts no longer matter as much as entrenched opinions and beliefs. People are more skeptical of facts (aka "fake news") today than perhaps ever before, especially if said facts don't fit their world view.

This technology will only further diminish their significance and relevance. Facts are soooooo overrated.

AICUSV01 Jun 2020 8:37 a.m. PST

Anything that can be abused, sooner or later will be.

Murvihill01 Jun 2020 10:05 a.m. PST

There are people working to prevent fraud even in the electronic era, for example watermarking files. Just as with physical objects the successful commission of fraud and detection of it are a never-ending struggle.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Jun 2020 11:47 a.m. PST

a never-ending struggle

Anything that can be abused, sooner or later will be.

Among other thigs, I teach cybersecurity to senior civil servants. I hate "bumper sticker" sayings. But I still have a few.

Anything that can be used can be misused.

Security (any type … political, military, information, etc.) is not a thing or a state. Security is a cost-benefit ratio, the relationship between the benefit of an adversary to carry out an unauthorized activity and the cost to that adversary to carry out the same.

Certainly, the cost to the adversary is a related to operational processes and security controls (two different things) you have in place, but those are subordinate to and only have meaning in the context of other aspects of the adversary. For security to be "good", those costs should be high and your activities should be the prime driver of the costs.

Handlebarbleep01 Jun 2020 8:27 p.m. PST

@robert le diable

It was just an exchange on Napoleon's attitude to Poland. The twists and turns of Real Politik means that historical figures sometimes take positions that in retrospect don't fit the hero narrative.

@nine pound round and @15mm and 28mm Fanatik

Ultimately on a forum mostly about little lead or pewter soldiers, does it really matter?

Only for those of us that take the historical part of our hobby seriously. My library has probably cost me way more than my figure collection, and I've done a damn sight more reading than gaming.

History is an interpretative discipline though. I don't object to the same facts leading to a different conclusion. I do get hot under the collar when a conclusion goes on a hunting expedition where inconvenient facts or data are discounted. Particularly so where the resulting opinions are being peddled as definative.

Robert le Diable02 Jun 2020 1:26 a.m. PST

Thanks for response, Handlebarbleep. I think Napoleon saw Poland, or the Duchy if Warsaw as he limited it, primarily as a source of manpower (while allowing the Polish nobles to believe he would liberate them from Russian domination). Not particularly complex, or unique at all.
USAFPilot: true about prints contributing to General Bonaparte becoming one of the best known soldiers of the Revolution, but he was one among many generals commemorated in contemporary prints; that is, rather as has been said of the French Army, he took an established form and used it more successfully than anyone else.
I wonder what's the modern version of, "to lie like a Bulletin"?

""*[//]) {> ::::

Nine pound round02 Jun 2020 5:33 a.m. PST

"Fake news" has attained a certain ubiquity.

Nine pound round02 Jun 2020 5:40 a.m. PST

Handlebar, I should add- you're not wrong. But the older I get, the more I realize, some people just cannot help themselves. It's sad, but that's the way it is.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP02 Jun 2020 8:42 a.m. PST

This is all very interesting, but what does this have to do with our hobby?

There are certainly things that could be said in that connection…

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