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  • Frank Gussoni

Deepfake Ads, When Technology Outpaces Intelligence

It appears we may be about to endure another calamity but this one may be truly epic. As AI has worked its way to the forefront so has new and possibly misleading ad creative.  

"Deepfakes," images or videos that use artificial intelligence to make it look as if a person is doing or saying things he or she actually isn't. As CNET noted, the technology entered the mainstream in 2019 and since has evolved and improved.

Still, more than one-third (37%) of AI decision-makers surveyed by Forrester said that creating marketing content will be the most important use case for generative AI in their organization over the next 12 months. With this in mind, Forrester expects at least one marketer will use AI and stumble on advertising’s biggest stages — the Super Bowl and the Summer Olympics — requiring a public apology for not treading carefully.

Generative artificial intelligence (also generative AI or GenAI) is artificial intelligence capable of generating text, images, or other media, using generative models. Generative AI models learn the patterns and structure of their input training data and then generate new data that has similar characteristics.

All this appears to be getting ramped up just in time for the 2024 political season, outstanding! Political advertising hasn’t been bad enough in this country for the last 25 years, now we have the potential for fake, or should I say, “more fake” as the case may be, content in those ads.

Political lawyers are gearing up for a contentious election cycle featuring a new generation of attack ads—AI-assisted and unregulated deepfake clips of their clients.

Lack of federal regulation, limited litigation strategies, and potential action from the Federal Election Commission are creating a volatile legal landscape for political lawyers, who are anticipating an onslaught of sophisticated AI-generated video or audio clips of a client doing or saying something that never happened.

It’s the “Wild West,” Caleb Burns, a lawyer at Wiley Rein who works for the Republican Party, warns his clients.

The Republican National Committee released a deepfake political ad in April positing an apocalyptic America during President Joe Biden’s second term.

Due to the historically slow process that the Federal Government has been known for resolving problems, compounded by the ever-increasing divisiveness of the political parties, some states have already passed laws pertaining to deepfake ads. The state laws are however limited, primarily to pornography and political ads. This is not intended as an editorial but, politicians enacting laws that are in their best interest……..hard to believe!

“AI-powered deepfake political ads aren’t just a threat to candidates and their races, they also threaten government stability,” according to Catherine Powell, a professor at Fordham University School of Law. Think about this with the volatile state of the world for a minute, Russia, Ukraine, China, North Vietnam, Israel, not to mention the potential financial implications on world markets. A falsified photograph of an explosion near the Pentagon went viral on social media in May of this year, briefly sending US stocks lower in the first instance of an AI-generated image impacting the stock market. The relative ease of creating fake ads, news, and imagery is only compounded by the difficulty determining the authenticity, or lack of, of the content.

“Outside of politics, the weaponization of deepfakes and synthetic media is influencing the cybersecurity landscape, enhancing traditional cyber threats, and enabling entirely new attack vectors. Notably, 2019 saw reports of cases where synthetic voice audio and images of non-existent, synthetic people were used to enhance social engineering against businesses and governments.” Giorgio Patrini, Founder, CEO, and Chief Scientist DEEPTRACE

This may be an opportune time to settle in, think and prepare for the worst, and hope it never gets that bad. With 24/7 news, constant mobile connectivity and anything going viral on social media there may never be a better time to get ready to stop and think before reacting. According to Dr. Linda Humphreys, PhD, “Perception is merely a lens or mindset from which we view people, events, and things. In other words, we believe what we perceive to be accurate, and we create our own realities based on those perceptions.”



President & Founder of A3 media.

We’re Type A. We transform media from an expense into a smart investment.

Frank’s Take provides uncommon sense media buying advice for regional and mid-market businesses.

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President & Founder of A3 media. We’re Type A. We transform media from an expense into a smart investment.

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