Senator Tony Hwang Raises Concern on the Danger to Public Trust Caused by Artificial Intelligence “Deepfakes”

March 3, 2024

March 3, 2024

Media Contact:
Joe Canino
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Senator Tony Hwang Raises Concern on the Danger to Public Trust Caused by Artificial Intelligence “Deepfakes”

WARNING: Deepfake Audio:

Click here to see Senator Hwang’s AI voice clone, created by deepfake audio technology.

Thursday, Senator Hwang testified at a legislative public hearing on Artificial Intelligence (AI) legislation, particularly on the dangerous misuse of “deepfake”  photos, videos, and audio.

“Inspired by my cautionary testimony and need for legislative and legal protection against the dangers of AI technology abuse, my staff decided to create a “deepfake” of my voice without any participation by me to show the effectiveness of deepfake tools available to the public. Using an AI audio creation company, Eleven Labs, which can be used to create deepfake audio for $5 per month. Within thirty minutes, a realistic deepfake clone of my voice was created, which could be used to phrase anything, making it sound like it came from me.” Said Senator Tony Hwang.

The process went as follows. Five minutes’ worth of public domain voice clips of Senator Hwang speaking were fed to the AI to train it to understand how his voice sounds. That was all that was needed to create a realistic clone of his voice. From there, any text could be typed into ElevenLabs’ AI model, and an audio file would be created with Senator Hwang’s voice saying those words.

With $5 and five one-minute clips of someone’s voice, and without their participation, any person can clone another’s voice and create realistic audio of whatever they please. This can be used, for example, to make a synthetic clip of a political candidate supporting a policy they do not support or saying words to constituents that they never uttered.

“The potential for defamation and identity theft is vast. The potential for impersonation is endless. This is an invasion of privacy. This technology can be used to steal and misrepresent the voice of any citizen. If it can happen to me, it can happen to you. We must regulate the dissemination of deepfake media to ensure that there are strong deterrents to anyone who wishes to impersonate their fellow citizens with this software.” Remarked Senator Hwang.