Last year we saw the rise of deepfake images and videos. While some applications of the technology were humourous (like turning Keanu Reeves into a hero) other applications weren’t.
The danger of deepfakes is that it can be incredibly difficult for a human to spot that it’s a doctored image.
Enter Jigsaw, a company owned by Alphabet, which has developed an application that can spot a deepfake using multiple image manipulation detectors. The application is called Assembler.
While several of these solutions exist already, researchers and journalists often have to make use of several of these to determine whether an image is fake. This – as you can imagine – takes time, and with news moving as fast as it does these days, time is of the essence.
“Assembler brings together multiple image manipulation detectors from various academics into one tool, each one designed to spot specific types of image manipulations. Individually, these detectors can identify very specific types of manipulation — such as copy-paste or manipulations to image brightness. Assembled together, they begin to create a comprehensive assessment of whether an image has been manipulated in any way,” explains Jigsaw founder and chief executive officer, Jared Cohen.
Jigsaw worked with experts from the University of Maryland, University Federico II of Naples, and the University of California, Berkeley. The firm also worked with Google Research to create Assembler.
You can find a list of contributions from collaborators here.
As of time of writing, Assembler is still very much in development but is being tested by journalists and fact checkers according to Engadget.
Jigsaw itself says that it testing how the solution works in newsrooms and is taking feedback.
“Disinformation is a complex problem, and there isn’t any simple technological solution. The first step is to better understand the issue. The world ought to understand how disinformation campaigns are increasingly being used as a way of manipulating people’s perception of important issues. We’re committed to sharing our insights and publishing our research so other organizations can examine and scrutinize different ways to approach this issue,” said Cohen.
In the coming months we’ll likely see more news of Jigsaw and Assembler as the firm issues updates and continues to tweak the software on the back of suggestions from its experts.
We’re keen to see Assembler in action and we hope that the solution is released to the public as well so that misinformation can be more easily refuted.