Venture capital is pouring money into startups that are developing deepfake technologies.

According to statistics from the research firm PitchBook, VC funds spent $187.7 million in the market last year, up from $1 million in 2017. According to the numbers, investors have sent another $50 million to synthetic media startups this year.

With all of that money pouring into such technology, techniques for detecting deepfakes lag far behind the rise of generative artificial intelligence, as my colleague Diana Li recently highlighted. According to the worldwide research organization HSRC, the global market for deepfake detection was $3.86 billion in 2022 and is expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate of 42% through 2026.

Runway, a New York-based startup that utilizes AI to make photos, video, splice together content, and edit by cue, has received the most venture capital funding in the last five years. Its slogan is “No lights. There is no camera. “It’s all action.” According to Insider, Runway was valued at $1.5 billion following a round of “at least” $100 million earlier this month.

Previously, Synthesia, a London-based company that develops lifelike virtual identities using recorded video and audio, raised $50 million from investors including Kleiner Perkins.

Deepdub, an Israeli company that employs AI to make actors or presenters on video appear to be speaking other languages in order to minimize awkward mouth movements, raised $20 million in a 2022 round headed by Insight Partners. Deep Voodoo, formed by the South Park creators, also raised $20 million last year after providing effects for a music video in which rapper Kendrick Lamar’s face mutated to seem like OJ Simpson, Kanye West, and others.

Deepfake Startups Have Become a Focus for Venture Capital

According to the findings, synthetic media — convincing visuals, video, and audio built by algorithms from fragments of genuine content – is ready to invade our environment in novel ways. For years, academics and security experts have warned that phony photos, video, and audio will be exploited to spread disinformation and undermine democratic institutions.

Indeed, the Republican National Committee produced a deepfake in April depicting a dystopian vision of the United States, which the GOP warned would become reality if President Joe Biden was re-elected. Russian officials also circulated a bogus film purporting to show Ukrainian forces attacking civilians. Researchers also discovered viral films supporting a military junta in Burkina Faso, an apparent attempt to alter public opinion in the country’s control war.

Many deepfake startups serve less sinister reasons, such as assisting in the creation of ads by combining video clips from various websites for adverts.

Some claim to be able to create internal training classes for organizations, a position normally played by actors. However, in the wrong hands, these instruments can be extremely powerful. A Washington Post reporter recently employed AI technology to develop a synthetic version of herself in order to determine if it might defraud their family and friends. (It was.)

At the very least, the prospect of our screens becoming flooded with virtual actors selling us Pepsi, vehicles, and health insurance is unsettling.

What We Discovered This Week
According to new research, app companies are taking advantage of increased user interest in ChatGPT to defraud individuals through the Google Play and Apple app stores.

Sophos cyber experts said in results published Wednesday that mobile apps that fraudulently purported to be based on the ChatGPT algorithm tricked individuals into enrolling in subscriptions that cost hundreds of dollars per year or inundated users with adverts. According to the researchers, one program, “Chat GBT,” levied a weekly price of $6 after the free trial period ended.

ChatGPT as Cyber Firms Warn of Worsening Phishing Scams Using AI Bots

According to Sophos, the fraud spree is part of a trend in which criminals seek to profit from counterfeit copies of things that are freely available elsewhere.

“They’re banking on the fact that users won’t pay attention to the cost or simply forget that they have this subscription,” said Sean Gallagher, chief security researcher at Sophos, in a statement. “Users delete the app without realizing they’re still on the hook for a monthly or weekly payment.”


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