The new Adobe Voco app is another example of how Digital data is different from the physical world. Digital information has no physical mass and can be edited, recoded, modified.
It is this ambivalence feature that is so in contradictory to our everyday experience; we wish we can change our appearance, alter our skills or alter ego but our physical human bodies
Can not yet be easily changed. This same property of digital data is what enables cyber security hackers and theft to be done remotely and unseen insider networks and software
Or surveillance through web cams or now the growing internet of things of smart home devices that talk, recognise our faces, thumb prints and much more potentially.
This is changing our boundaries of privacy and enabling new capabilities that could be for powerful good in areas of medicine to protection from car crashes to virtual reality entertainment.
What is reality? What is the original truth?
The cost of computing is dramatically falling while rapidly increasing artificial intelligence and machine learning is able to reconstruct or realities and potential experience. Adobe Voco is yet another
example of software makes it possible to take an audio recording and rapidly alter it to include words and phrases the original speaker never uttered, in what sounds like their voice.
This is also possible with image recognition and image editing to change versions of photos and even video recording to include new content or actors. It is not unlike gene resequencing to remove and change biological features
These are all examples of changing the original reality into something else, and it has both good and ethical issues to consider.
Verification and veracity
How do these technologies get checked to confirm what was the original source and version? How do we calibrate and know what is the true representation of a situation that may be needed for example in a legal case or
to confirm the product or service is to the original specification. It seems like a completely new direction for counterfeiting or the ability to change original sources of other peoples and corporate content.
This already has issues with copyright and in the legal issues of using prior work as a basis of violating its use. The arguments over search engines and Internet Service providers as just brokers of other web sites
versus control of access and monetising this content service seems straightforward compared to advances that could mask and change the identity of people and content altogether.
Higher forms of digital authentication
Clearly there needs to be digital copyright standards to track sources that will need to advance to take into account technologies like Adobe Voco that can blend and morph these sources; but what is more complicated
is in how to verify the actual output as representing a version of some truth be it a true version of a person's voice or opinion, or a fictional or at worst violent and nefarious version. Imagine politics and politicians and speeches
In the future and the loss of trust in the public being unable to get authentication of what is the truth.
This dystopian future I hope is not the case but as technology advances these are real ethical and legal issues that must develop as Artificial Intelligence can change our physical reality