US special forces can use deepfake technology for psy-ops, report says

Leaders overseeing some of the U.S. military’s most secretive missions are seeking a new, unprecedented breed of weapon: “deepfakes,” which use machine learning to create lifelike fake videos.

The U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which includes elite units from the Army, Marines, Navy, and Air Force, is developing “a next-generation ‘deep fake’ or other similar technology to generate messages and operations influence through non-traditional channels,” says one tender document discovered by The interception.

In recent tender requests, SOCOM is seeking partners to develop capabilities using lasers, holograms and hacking Internet-connected devices as part of its covert operations.

“When it comes to disinformation, the Pentagon shouldn’t fight fire with fire,” said Chris Meserole, head of the Brookings Institution’s Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technology Initiative. The interception. β€œAt a time when digital propaganda is on the rise worldwide, the US should do everything it can to strengthen democracy by creating support for shared understandings of truth and reality. Deepfakes do the opposite. By casting doubt on the credibility of all content and information, whether real or synthetic, they ultimately erode the foundations of democracy itself.”

The independent has contacted SOCOM for comment.

Last year, the so-called “Twitter Files” document dump revealed that Twitter had knowingly authorized the US military to carry out influence operations on the site using fake news sources with deepfake avatars.

US officials have repeatedly expressed concern about other countries using social media manipulation to target the US widespread Russian disinformation campaigns on Facebook and elsewhere during the 2016 election.

In 2018, 13 Russians and three companies were charged with attempted interference in the 2016 election. Federal prosecutors said hackers assumed American identities and used Facebook groups, social media ads and incendiary images to boost support for Donald Trump and divide sow in the US.

Deepfakes have surfaced more recently during the Russian invasion of Ukrainewith fake videos showing both the Ukrainian and Russian presidents surrendering to each other.

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