CONSUMERS have increased awareness of deepfakes or generative artificial intelligence (AI) hoaxes but appear to overestimate their ability to detect such manipulations, according to an online identity consumer study.

Deepfakes refer to media that have been digitally manipulated through AI to create convincing impersonations and events.

About 67% of consumers said they have heard of deepfakes, and awareness was highest among those in Singapore at 87%, based on a survey released by identity verification company Jumio and global market research consultancy Censuswide.

Respondents for the survey conducted in April were 8,055 consumers split evenly across the United Kingdom, United States, Singapore, and Mexico.

Some 52% of respondents said they believe they could detect a deepfake video, reflecting “over-confidence on the part of consumers, given the reality that deepfakes have reached a level of sophistication that prevents detection by the naked eye,” the study said.

“While there are certainly telltale signs to look for, deepfakes are getting exponentially better all the time and are becoming increasingly difficult to detect without the aid of AI,” said Stuart Wells, Jumio’s chief technology officer. 

“While AI-powered technology will increasingly be required by businesses to spot and protect their networks and customers from deepfakes, consumers can protect themselves by treating provocative images, videos and audio with skepticism,” he added. “Some quick research will usually uncover whether it’s a fake or not.”

The study noted a steady uptick in the use of increasingly sophisticated deepfakes across the globe, mostly in the payments and crypto sectors.

The study showed that 57% of consumers believe that online identity theft will become easier due to AI availability and advancements, and consumers in Singapore showed the highest level of understanding of their potential harmful use (73%).

“Organizations have a duty to educate their customers on the nuances of generative AI technologies to help them develop more realistic expectations of their ability to detect deepfakes,” said Philipp Pointner, Jumio chief of digital identity.

While education cannot completely prevent fraud, Mr. Pointner recommended the implementation of multimodal, biometric-based verification systems that can detect deepfakes and prevent stolen personal information from being used.

Meanwhile, 68% of consumers said they are open to using a digital identity card over a physical ID in the financial services, government, and healthcare sectors.

“Encouragingly, our research indicated strong consumer appetite for this form of identity verification, which businesses should act on fast,” Mr. Pointner said. — M.H.L. Antivola