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    Blockchain tech could be the answer to uncovering deepfakes and validating content


    Two months ago, media giant Fox Corp. partnered with Polygon Labs, the team behind the Ethereum-focused layer-2 blockchain, to tackle deepfake distrust.

    Fox and Polygon launched Verify, a protocol that aims to protect their IP while letting consumers verify the authenticity of content. And since then, government regulatory committees, publishers and others have seen this as a viable solution to a “today problem,” Melody Hildebrandt, CTO of Fox Corp., said on TechCrunch’s Chain Reaction podcast.

    Hildebrandt said she’s bullish that more news outlets, media companies and others will integrate this technology as AI technology goes into the mainstream. It may be beneficial to both AI companies and creators: The models gain knowledge and outlets and individuals can verify their work.

    And it’s important for end users, who are uncertain about whether the content they’re consuming is trustworthy or not, Mike Blank, COO at Polygon Labs, said during the episode.

    “There’s obviously the beat on the hill,” Hildebrandt said. Although most publishers want to participate in this type of ecosystem, they don’t want to sign away “all their crown jewels,” she added. This means imposing some technical guardrails that allow creators to get ahead, but still being able to maintain some optionality in the future.

    “We had this immediate kind of ‘aha’ moment,” Hildebrandt said. “I think that we could think about blockchain provenance as a bit of a grounding to think about the ‘input into model’ question and how to think about provenance and media in an AI-generated world.”

    There’s an opportunity for blockchains to help establish the veracity of data and authenticate content that’s proliferating across the internet, Blank said. The hope is to uncover untrustworthy content so consumers can feel some comfort in a world where things can’t always be trusted.

    One of the key benefits of blockchain technology is the ability to store data in a way that ensures the integrity of that data. Blockchains can also cryptographically validate the authenticity of images, text, video or other media assets.

    “When you put that content on chain, you can now validate that content was created by a certain individual or brand,” Blank said.

    Ultimately, it’s in a brand’s best interest to proactively provide verified information, Blank said. “It will be increasingly simpler for end users to understand where they’re receiving their content from and whether that’s actually valid or verified in some way.”

    AI-derived content is being generated at an unprecedented pace and will continue as AI becomes more capable. “I think we all have to work together in order to ensure that the technological environment that we’re creating enables the scale to, to solve this problem at a pace at which, again, the end user consumer can and can effectively consume,” Blank said.

    This story was inspired by an episode of TechCrunch’s podcast Chain Reaction. Subscribe to Chain Reaction on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite pod platform to hear more stories and tips from the entrepreneurs building today’s most innovative companies.

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