Trust, Fakes and Deep Fakes

This morning began like any other lazy Sunday morning. Reading one article in a newspaper with my morning cuppa, I got interested to diving  deeper for my knowledge on Internet. I soon realized that the iceberg that is visible is 400 – 500 times bigger beneath. Call it the dark underbelly of Internet or more popularly known as Deep Web or Dark Web. It is well encrypted, out of bounds to the search engines, one can hide one’s identity and no one can find the location. All kinds of transactions happen here,  including drugs, guns, child pornography and things worse than that. Shudder.

What I shudder more is the availability of such ability for the ‘surface’ world. Suddenly, the alleged Russian involvement in American elections, the fake news and deep fakes begin sounding possible. How much we get to read s each day on our social networks? How much of it that we receive or forward is true? More questions appear. Are we, ourselves, not become a mere reflection of the information that we consume. By that token, what percentage of our character and thinking has gone fake?

Since morning, I have begun to fear that trust will be the rarest of the commodities for humans in the near future. I have always believed that humanity progressed whenever one human trusted the other human being. In family, in business, in friendship, in social leadership, etc. Natural justice depended on human trust. The threads of all relationships are made up of trust. Now, it seems that the era of hyper growth will be despite trust. Time to learn a few new things and unlearn a few morals that we were taught while in the school.

Painting a future landscape in some of the businesses is an interesting exercise. Take stock markets, where the main ingredient was mutual trust among brokers while trading in the ring for over 110 years of 130 years. The Stock Market crawls on facts, runs on trust and sprints on rumours. Imagine the havoc Fake news and Deep Fake videos, created with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI), can create by spreading  creating rumours on the stock price of the company. Or a key competitor/stakeholder disseminating a vested Deep Fake video on the day before the IPO. The damage would have been done before corrective measures are put into action. The databases are available, the dissemination platforms are available, production facilities are available. This is not difficult to be envisaged in all businesses of life. From a girl locating a groom on matrimony site to a farmer growing potatoes somewhere.

All that is now needed is an objective to use some of the tools available in the dark underbelly of Internet. Trust me, a day may not be far when the logic of self-preservation will replace mutual trust.