Sen. Pete Ricketts (R-NE) warned during a Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing this week that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is using state-of-the-art AI to create “deep fakes” to destabilize the U.S.
Deep fakes are photos and videos that have been digitally manipulated to alter voices or images or other aspects of the content to appear authentic in an effort to deceive whoever is viewing the material.
“The threat of disinformation, weaponizing information against the United States and our allies to divide us, divide our citizens is on the rise,” said Ricketts. “It’s especially so because we all have access to [smart phones] now, so citizens and policymakers all have access to that through social media or other sorts of platforms. But the idea that our adversaries would try to use disinformation to devise is not new.”
Ricketts mentioned that the Soviet Union during the Cold War spent billions on disinformation campaigns as part of their statecraft to destabilize the U.S. and U.S. allies at the time.
“And I believe that in 1980, for example, there was a conservative estimate, the Soviet Union spent $3 billion on disinformation campaigns as part of their overall strategy,” he said, noting that the Soviet Union outspent the U.S. 10-to-1 in disinformation campaigns at the time.
Ricketts also spoke on the topic of artificial intelligence, saying that China has become a “global leader in artificial intelligence.”
“And they’ve been developing for a long time now something called ‘deep fake’ technology, and it has progressed along to the point where they’ve been able to use AI to distort public figures,” he said. “An example of how a public figure might be distorted is when Zelensky was portrayed as announcing a surrender last year. And the software can not only use be used to distort real people, but could also create people out of whole cloth. … So we’ve got this deep fake video technology that can create fictitious people. They can be used to really cloud even further people’s ability to discern what’s real information, what’s not real information.”