AI Face Misuse: Student's Image Used in Fake Videos Promoting China-Russia Friendship

AI Face Misuse: Student's Image Used in Fake Videos Promoting China-Russia Friendship

Olga Loiek, a 21-year-old student at the University of Pennsylvania, found herself at the center of a disturbing phenomenon when her likeness began appearing in videos on Chinese social media platforms, speaking Mandarin—a language she had never learned. These videos, created using AI technology, depicted her promoting China-Russia friendship and endorsing Russian products, despite her Ukrainian heritage. Discovering over 35 accounts featuring her likeness, Olga was outraged, especially considering her family's situation in Ukraine.

The company responsible for the AI tool used to generate these videos, HeyGen, claimed their system was hacked to produce "unauthorized content" and promptly blocked Olga's image. However, this incident sheds light on the broader challenges of regulating rapidly advancing AI technologies.

Despite China's efforts to regulate AI and protect digital likeness rights, incidents like Olga's remain prevalent. China has been a hotbed for counterfeit activities and deepfake production, despite legal measures against them. The proliferation of these videos might also be linked to political motivations, aligning with China-Russia narratives, though direct connections remain unclear.

Experts warn of the risks individuals face, including being framed with politically sensitive content and subjected to swift punishments without due process, particularly in China where citizen rights in relation to the government are weak. While regulations are being developed globally, including the EU's AI Act and initiatives in the US, challenges persist due to disagreements and the fast pace of AI advancement.

At the individual level, there's little recourse beyond refraining from sharing personal data online. Olga, undeterred by her ordeal, continues to share her story and advocate for awareness, with some support from Chinese online users who have helped flag and remove fraudulent videos. Despite being a victim of generative AI, Olga remains determined to use the internet to share her ideas and experiences.

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