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U.S. Senator Peters: Deepfake videos dangerous to democracy


Michigan Senator Gary Peters has joined with other members of the Senate Artificial Intelligence Caucus (AI Caucus) to sponsor a bill going after deepfakes.

Deepfakes are online videos created using sophisticated machine learning software.  They manipulate real content to depict events and statements that did not actually occur.

"They are a very dangerous item that can be weaponized to put out false information," says Peters.  "But if you watch it, you would think, my gosh that must be accurate because I saw them say it myself."

Peters says he is especially concerned about deepfakes being used in the next election to influence voters.

"I would not be surprised to see this weaponized in the next election," he says, "whether by the Russians or another government entity or just by folks politically motivated who are trying to win an election."
The Deepfake Reports Act directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to produce periodic reports on deepfakes to raise public awareness of possible fraudulent or misleading content, improve our understanding of the technology used to generate deepfakes, and identify how foreign governments or their proxies use the technology to harm national security.

The bill also instructs DHS to consider available technological countermeasures and legislative responses to combat the rising threat of deepfakes.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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