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Exploring the future of truth in an AI-led world of deepfakes and manipulation

Newcastle’s Life Science Centre is unmasking the world of AI-driven deception in the latest in a series of adult events.

Fake or Fact is the theme of the next Science Speakeasy, where topical and sometimes controversial science topics are discussed in a quirky and informal way.

At this event, on Thursday 16 May, a panel of experts will be delving into the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and examining if fakes are becoming indistinguishable from reality.

While most of us interact with this type of technology daily, from using Alexa and Siri to facial recognition and chatbots, there is a potentially darker and deceptive side to this technology.

According to a recent YouGov poll, 70% of MPs are concerned that AI generated content will increase the spread of disinformation and undermine the integrity of the next UK general election. A Royal Society Report (2022) also found that the vast majority of people struggle to identify deepfakes from genuine videos.

Examples of deepfakes that have fooled the public include an engineered video of Barack Obama using obscenities to describe Donald Trump, viewed by millions online, to deepfakes of Putin and Zelensky which were used as propaganda during the war in Ukraine.

Panellists on the night, who will be leading an open discussion with the audience, include Luke Chambers, a researcher in Artificial Intelligence Law at Northumbria University and social psychologist Daniel Jolley, who studies conspiracy theories at Nottingham University, with more panellists to be announced.

They will be exploring deceptive AI-generated content and leading a discussion on the implications that has on individuals, organisations and governments. This is a particularly pertinent topic given that more than 64 countries, around half the world’s population, will vote in elections this year.

Linda Conlon, Chief Executive of Life said: “Our latest Speakeasy will explore the rapidly evolving landscape of AI and how this technology poses both risks and significant opportunities.

“Throughout history, new approaches and new tools have helped bring about world-changing scientific discovery and innovation. And the reality is that AI is here to stay, making it crucial to raise awareness of the risks and also to develop ways to help people like our visitors to identify what is real and what is not.”

Tickets for the Speakeasy, which are £10, are available at Life https://www.life.org.uk/whats-on/event/science-speakeasy-fake-or-fact/

The event, which is being held in the science centre under Gaia – a mesmerising 7 metre recreation of planet Earth – starts at 8pm and there will be bar facilities on the evening.