The world's most popular computer graphics company wants to use AI to detect manipulated images and video. Is it too little too late?
As powerful visual AI makes its away across the internet, it's getting easier and easier to manipulate images, audio, and videos, which poses a serious problem for society. Adobe, which has a hand in popularizing some of the earliest image editing technology, wants to fight back—by harnessing artificial intelligence to detect manipulated images of people. The company's researchers are working with UC Berkeley scientists and DARPA, the Pentagon's advanced technology research arm, to develop software that is capable of flagging, analyzing, and even reversing facial manipulation in photographs. And the group of organizations wants to make their program available for everyone.
In a new research paper, the scientists describe how most malicious photo editing happens in widely available tools like Adobe Photoshop, especially with the software's warping tool, known as "liquify." With liquify, any user can deform specific areas of a face to totally change a person's expression, turning happiness into sadness or a serene gaze into the look of an insane person. Adobe's new forensic tool focuses in on this effect, detecting pixels that have been deformed (even if the change is invisible to human eyes). The software uses a Convolutional Neural Network—a form of artificial intelligence inspired by the way an animal's visual cortex works—which is the same basic technology that lets manipulation tools like Deepfakes swap faces onto different bodies, make people say things they never said, and make videos of people doing things they never did.