Our Brain Can Subconsciously Detect Deepfakes, but the Mind Deceives


Our brains can subconsciously detect deepfakes, even if our conscious minds are deceived

The University of Sydney, research team claims that our brains can subconsciously detect deepfakes, even if our conscious minds are deceived. A deep fake is a type of cybercrime in which someone’s identity is replicated using multiple tech tools to spread false information. Tools such as artificial intelligence, photoshop, machine learning, and many others are used extensively to create deepfake videos, clips, and other content.

Neuroscientists have found that people’s brains can detect AI-generated fake faces, even though people could not report which faces were real and which were fake. The findings indicate that in subjects’ brains, which were being monitored using electroencephalography (EEG), researchers found human brains encode and interpret realistic artificially generated images in a manner different from real-life identification. EEG is a test that shows activity occurring on the brain’s surface layer.

Our brains can subconsciously detect deepfakes:

Deepfake videos, images, audio, or text appear to be authentic, but in fact, are computer-generated clones designed to mislead you and sway public opinion. A rise in digital propaganda distributed by malicious actors has prompted concern as to whether the general public will be able to discern reality from fake images or videos. It won’t immediately – or potentially ever – lead to a foolproof way of detecting deepfakes.

Electroencephalography -enabled helmets could have helped prevent recent bank heist and corporate fraud cases in Dubai and the UK. EEG was successfully able to detect deepfakes 54 percent of the time. But when an earlier group was asked to verbally identify the same deepfakes, their success rate was only 37 percent. Deepfakes are created by computer programs, and these programs leave ‘fingerprints’ that can be detected.

The researchers performed two experiments. One is behavioral and one uses neuroimaging. In the, participants were shown 50 images of real and computer-generated fake faces. They were asked to identify which were real and which were fake. Next, the researchers brought in a new batch of subjects who looked at the same mix of 50 images, but this time their brains were monitored using EEG neuroimaging. The researchers then compared the results of the two experiments, finding people’s brains were better at detecting deepfakes than their eyes.

Researchers tell that the brain can spot the difference between deepfakes and authentic images. And they found that at a group level, participants “tended to interchange the labels, classifying real faces as realistic fakes and vice versa. The data also show that despite their surface-level similarities, current deepfakes are flawed.

The research team finding about the brain’s deepfake-spotting power means we might have another tool to fight back against deepfakes and the spread of disinformation. Additionally, research targeted at understanding the discrepancy between neural responses and conscious identification could help in the fight against deepfakes. In the future, EEG helmets could help officials detect scammers in real-time. In these cases, finance personnel thought they heard the voice of a trusted client or associate and were duped into transferring funds.

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