It is necessary to develop “digital fingerprints” to combat the growing disinformation and distinguish between real and fake news, former President Barack Obama said in the new edition of “The Ax Files” by David Axelrod.
Deep fakes, which are digitally manipulated images, audio, or videos that appear legitimate, are of particular concern.
The former President highlighted that the “technology’s here now” would amplify all the problems with misinformation that existed in previous cycles during 2024.
Obama suggested, “We’re going to have all the problems we had with misinformation before,” but they would be “worse” during the upcoming election cycle.
He highlighted that these deep fakes would require the public to be more “discriminating consumers of news and information,” adding that in time techniques should be developed like “watermarks or digital fingerprints” to decipher what is true and what is not.
Obama explained there would be plenty of work to do but that in the meantime, “it’s really going to be up to the American people” to make the determination.
Obama told his former White House senior adviser, Axelrod, that he “was the first digital president” and that when he left office, he “was probably the most recorded, filmed, [and] photographed human in history.”
The good news, he says, is that most people now realize that “not everything that pops up on your phone is true.”
However, he claimed misinformation could still be used to discourage people from voting by characterizing the system as rigged and corrupt.
Obama suggested the technology could “oftentimes advantage the powerful” and worried about cynicism “developing even further during the course of this next election.”