living in a post-evidence world

Another Are Technica story, this time on AI-generated images. While this capability has been around for awhile, and image manipulation has been around for hundreds of years, we apparently have turned a corner on the quality and availability fronts.

I’ve argued that we’re now in a post-evidence society, and that is problematic as humans don’t know how to navigate that dynamic. Way back when, the mantra was, “I believe what I see.” But eyewitness testimony has it’s problems (e.g. here and here ). Then a “picture is worth a thousand words,” well, until Photoshop. Then video has to tell the real story, well, until editing and CGI comes into play.

as deep fakes become better (crossing the uncanny valley), and easier to make, society will need to rethink what constitutes evidence, and how evidence is gathered, assessed, and used as…well…evidence. This is part of the impetus behind one of the TNL summer sprints – Mutually Assured Deception. A post-evidence world is an existential threat to society since humans rely on evidence to navigate their world. When everything is fake, how do you determine what is real? Deep questions, but as we move deeper into the digital epoch, critical that we sort things out.

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