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Authenticity ? Is this me? Sort of. Not really.

“Authentic" is the Merriam-Webster Inc. word of 2023. 

Might "Augmented Authenticity” be the word for 2024? 

The attached video pushes -- and goes beyond -- the bounds of authenticity. 

The video is not me. While I wrote the words, I never spoke them. The video is created using HeyGen. I fed it only two minutes of me rambling, and it made the semi-plausible likeness you're seeing. (Yes, I had to submit a video consent stating that I have the rights to the video). Anyone can do the same thing right now. It's free.

Technically, it's impressive. 

Before we delve into the scary scenario, let's focus on the positive. Imagine giving Stephen Hawking his voice back or returning a natural voice to someone with throat cancer. Teachers, therapists, and entertainers could extend their reach and impact by creating highly personalized experiences.

What if AI served as a powerful tool in developing deeper authenticity? Imagine if AI could offer confidential, personalized insights by analyzing behavioral data and patterns across all your past data. It could facilitate deep self-reflection through tailored prompts and exercises that help uncover underlying values and beliefs. By providing interactive modules for building emotional intelligence and resilience, AI could be a supportive mechanism for developing self-awareness. 

On the flip side, there are real concerns about what technology like this could do to empower manipulation and disinformation. It's worth noting that HeyGen was originally started in China and brings key investors and a leadership team with strong ties to China.

Related to addressing potential misuse, the "No Fakes Act" introduced by Senator Christopher Coons aims to protect the voice and likeness of actors, singers, performers, and individuals from AI-generated replicas. Groups like the SCREEN ACTORS GUILD, INC. are focused on protecting the digital rights of actors. People like Sam Gregory at WITNESS are doing a fantastic job fighting for our digital rights in the context of human rights. And peronsonallhy, one of my proudest moments at Adobe was working on the very early stages of the Content Authenticity Initiative.

Ok, that was a lot. 


Let me know what you think. These are critical discussions. Please share your views in the comments below. 

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