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Deepfakes and scientific knowledge dissemination

Doss, C., Mondschein, J., Shu, D. et al. Deepfakes and scientific knowledge dissemination. Sci Rep 13, 13429 (2023).

“Science misinformation on topics ranging from climate change to vaccines have significant public policy repercussions. Artificial intelligence-based methods of altering videos and photos (deepfakes) lower the barriers to the mass creation and dissemination of realistic, manipulated digital content. The risk of exposure to deepfakes among education stakeholders has increased as learners and educators rely on videos to obtain and share information. We field the first study to understand the vulnerabilities of education stakeholders to science deepfakes and the characteristics that moderate vulnerability. We ground our study in climate change and survey individuals from five populations spanning students, educators, and the adult public. Our sample is nationally representative of three populations. We found that 27–50% of individuals cannot distinguish authentic videos from deepfakes. All populations exhibit vulnerability to deepfakes which increases with age and trust in information sources but has a mixed relationship with political orientation. Adults and educators exhibit greater vulnerability compared to students, indicating that those providing education are especially susceptible. Vulnerability increases with exposure to potential deepfakes, suggesting that deepfakes become more pernicious without interventions. Our results suggest that focusing on the social context in which deepfakes reside is one promising strategy for combatting deepfakes.”

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