Fake videos and AI rattle nerves in Davos

Artificial intelligence and deep fake video are a major talking point in Davos this year, fueling conversation about overall trust in emerging technologies.

This year the discussions are particularly pertinent in the run up to the US election, with many asking the question - how can big tech companies stay ahead of fake news and tackle manipulated media?


"I want to show you just how easy it is to make a deep fake video using technology on show this year. I'm going to keep my face really neutral and touch the screen so that it registers me and I can choose to become Celebrity from K pop star Jenni and former British prime minister Theresa May. With the touch of a button, I can morph myself into anyone."

Those examples, perhaps not the most convincing, but this one is:

The sophisticated manipulation of videos like these - which appear to show Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying something he did not - lead to a European Union proposal to ban facial recognition use by government.

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai weighed in on the topic and said global regulations, not country by country rules, are needed to protect everyone.


"AI is no different from climate. You know, you can't get safety by just having one country or a set of countries working on it. You know, you need a global framework to arrive at a safer world."

Microsoft President Brad Smith believes an all-out ban on facial recognition technology would have a downside for do-gooders.


"I've seen in Brazil, for example, how an NGO is using our facial recognition and working with hospitals, public hospitals, working with police stations and identifying missing children, in some cases, adults who are suffering from mental illness, who've gone missing. And these people are being reunited with their families. I don't want to stop that use."

But along with the good comes the potential risk the technology will be misused by governments and private companies alike, leading to some high-tech soul searching.