Tag Archives: Challenge

Tech experts band together to issue $10 million challenge against deepfakes

A newly-announced challenge is offering a total of $10 million in prizes to those who can create reliable deepfake-spotting software.

Image via Pixabay.

It’s a good approach in life not to believe everything you see — but it’s a vital skill on today’s Internet. In response to the dangers posed by deepfakes, realistic AI-generated videos of people doing and saying fictional things, a group of technology firms and academics have banded together to find a solution.

The group, which also includes Facebook, announced Tuesday that they’re launching a public race to develop technology for detecting deepfakes.

Fake videos, real prizes

“The goal of the challenge is to produce technology that everyone can use to better detect when AI has been used to alter a video in order to mislead the viewer,” said Facebook chief technical officer Mike Schroepfer.

In total, Facebook is dedicating $10 million to the program. The challenge, called the Deepfake Detection Challenge (DFDC), will have a leaderboard and prizes, which will be given out “to spur the industry to create new ways of detecting and preventing media manipulated via AI from being used to mislead others,” Schroepfer explains.

Microsoft and the Partnership on AI have also thrown their weight behind the initiative. Partnership on AI is an industry-backed group whose mission is to promote beneficial uses of artificial intelligence. It includes members from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell University, University of Oxford, University of California-Berkeley, University of Maryland, and University at Albany. It’s backed by Apple, Amazon, IBM and other tech firms and non-governmental organizations

All in all, the DFDC is likely the single most significant move ever taken against the dissemination of altered video and audio material intended to misinform public discourse. It’s also the first project on the subject of media integrity started by Partnership on AI.

Deepfakes “have significant, global implications for the legitimacy of information online, the quality of public discourse, the safeguarding of human rights and civil liberties, and the health of democratic institutions,” explains the executive director of the Partnership on AI, Terah Lyons.

Facebook said the funds it put up for grabs will go towards research collaborations and prizes for the challenge. Facebook itself will also enter the competition, but not accept any of the prize money. According to the DFDC website, the challenge will run throughout 2020. A winner will be selected using “a test mechanism that enables teams to score the effectiveness of their models, against one or more black-box test sets from our founding partners.”

Vegan meal.

Asheville officially issues the first city-wide vegan challenge in the US

Asheville, North Carolina, challenges residents and local businesses to eat plant-based food for one whole week.

Vegan meal.

Image credits Alexandra Gerea.

Between June 4 and 10, Asheville, North Carolina, will hold the first city-proclaimed vegan challenge in the US. City officials, alongside no-kill animal rescue organization Brother Wolf Animal Rescue hope that the challenge will “promote good health, animal justice, social justice, environmental justice, and climate justice,” according to a proclamation signed by mayor Esther Manheimer.

The challenge is spearheaded by the Brother Wolf Animal Rescue. In collaboration with Garth Davis, MD, and his team at Mission Health Weight Management, they created a guide with a seven-day meal plan, grocery list, and other tips for those who will take up the challenge. Brother Wolf will also partner with several local restaurants to highlight vegan options.

More than 800 people have signed up in the first 10 days since the challenge was issued, reports Citizen Times quoting Courtney Zurcher, Marketing Director for VeganFest and Brother Wolf.

“The goal is to take the number of people signed up, and track the environmental impact of all those people going vegan for seven days,” she added.  “We want to show, as a city, what you can do to impact climate change through a vegan diet.”

And the Asheville challenge has a lot backing it. Recent research shows that cutting down on meat and dairy is the single most effective way to lower your environmental footprint, mainly by reducing emissions, freshwater use, land use, water pollution (eutrophication) and air pollution (acidification), in the agricultural sector.

“A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use,” said Joseph Poore, main author of the study, in a press release. “It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car,” he said, as these only cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The seven-day challenge leads up to the Asheville VeganFest (June 8 to 10), which will also be presented by Brother Wolf Animal Rescue.

There’s also hope of ‘outsourcing’ the challenge — the shelter has created a 7-Day Challenge Start-up Kit complete with a sample press release, marketing plan, and proclamation. They’ve also set up a custom challenge website, a guide to securing partnerships and sponsorship, and offer a training webinar available on their website.