The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) continues to impact various aspects of our lives, including both positive and negative consequences. On the one hand, AI has been instrumental in deciphering ancient scrolls destroyed in the Mount Vesuvius eruption, earning computer scientists a $700,000 prize. On the other hand, dodgy websites are now using neural networks and AI to create cheap fake IDs online, posing potential risks to online security and financial institutions.
One such website, OnlyFake, claimed to use AI to generate realistic images of fake IDs, including driving licenses and passports, for as little as $15. Although the website has since been taken down, it highlights the ability of AI to create counterfeit identification documents that could potentially fool online verification systems. Experts warn that such fake IDs could be used for money laundering or even hacking into people’s legitimate accounts to steal funds.
In an experiment conducted by 404 Media, an independent tech-focused publication, they successfully created a realistic-looking fake Californian ID using AI-generated images. This counterfeit card was able to bypass the verification methods of a cryptocurrency platform, demonstrating the potential for misuse and fraud.
Meanwhile, the Vesuvius Challenge 2023 saw a group of computer science students win the top prize of $700,000 by using AI software to read ancient scrolls that were preserved from the volcanic eruption. These scrolls had been burnt to a crisp, making them incredibly challenging to decipher. The winning team managed to uncover four passages of text, and the goal for the next year is to read 90 percent of the scrolls.
However, AI technology is not without its risks. The governor of the National Bank of Romania, Mugur Isarescu, fell victim to a deepfake scam where a digitally altered video and audio depicted him recommending fraudulent financial advice. These deepfakes, which manipulate visual and auditory content, can mislead people into making poor financial decisions and falling victim to scams. This incident highlights the need for caution and vigilance in the face of increasingly sophisticated AI-generated scams.
In addition, concerns have been raised about the safety of self-driving vehicles as a Waymo car recently collided with a cyclist in California. The autonomous vehicle was reportedly blocked from view by a passing truck, resulting in the accident. While the incident was minor and the cyclist did not sustain serious injuries, it raises questions about the reliability and safety of self-driving technology.
Overall, AI continues to shape various aspects of our society, from ancient text deciphering to the creation of counterfeit IDs and the spread of deepfake scams. As these technologies become increasingly sophisticated, it is crucial to strike a balance between harnessing their potential benefits and mitigating their potential risks. Vigilance, regulation, and responsible usage are key to navigating this AI-driven landscape effectively.