Nav: Home

Outsmarting deep fakes: AI-driven imaging system protects authenticity

May 29, 2019

BROOKLYN, New York, Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - To thwart sophisticated methods of altering photos and video, researchers at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering have demonstrated an experimental technique to authenticate images throughout the entire pipeline, from acquisition to delivery, using artificial intelligence (AI).

In tests, this prototype imaging pipeline increased the chances of detecting manipulation from approximately 45 percent to over 90 percent without sacrificing image quality.

Determining whether a photo or video is authentic is becoming increasingly problematic. Sophisticated techniques for altering photos and videos have become so accessible that so-called "deep fakes" -- manipulated photos or videos that are remarkably convincing and often include celebrities or political figures -- have become commonplace.

Pawel Korus, a research assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at NYU Tandon, pioneered this approach. It replaces the typical photo development pipeline with a neural network - one form of AI - that introduces carefully crafted artifacts directly into the image at the moment of image acquisition. These artifacts, akin to "digital watermarks," are extremely sensitive to manipulation.

"Unlike previously used watermarking techniques, these AI-learned artifacts can reveal not only the existence of photo manipulations, but also their character," Korus said.

The process is optimized for in-camera embedding and can survive image distortion applied by online photo sharing services.

The advantages of integrating such systems into cameras are clear.

"If the camera itself produces an image that is more sensitive to tampering, any adjustments will be detected with high probability," said Nasir Memon, a professor of computer science and engineering at NYU Tandon and co-author, with Korus, of a paper detailing the technique. "These watermarks can survive post-processing; however, they're quite fragile when it comes to modification: If you alter the image, the watermark breaks," Memon said.

Most other attempts to determine image authenticity examine only the end product - a notoriously difficult undertaking.

Korus and Memon, by contrast, reasoned that modern digital imaging already relies on machine learning. Every photo taken on a smartphone undergoes near-instantaneous processing to adjust for low light and to stabilize images, both of which take place courtesy of onboard AI. In the coming years, AI-driven processes are likely to fully replace the traditional digital imaging pipelines. As this transition takes place, Memon said that "we have the opportunity to dramatically change the capabilities of next-generation devices when it comes to image integrity and authentication. Imaging pipelines that are optimized for forensics could help restore an element of trust in areas where the line between real and fake can be difficult to draw with confidence."
-end-
Korus and Memon note that while their approach shows promise in testing, additional work is needed to refine the system. This solution is open-source, and can be accessed at https://github.com/pkorus/neural-imaging. The researchers will present their paper, "Content Authentication for Neural Imaging Pipelines: End-to-end Optimization of Photo Provenance in Complex Distribution Channels," at the Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition in Long Beach, California, in June.

About the New York University Tandon School of Engineering

The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, the founding date for both the New York University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture and the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute (widely known as Brooklyn Poly). A January 2014 merger created a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences, rooted in a tradition of invention and entrepreneurship and dedicated to furthering technology in service to society. In addition to its main location in Brooklyn, NYU Tandon collaborates with other schools within NYU, one of the country's foremost private research universities, and is closely connected to engineering programs at NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai. It operates Future Labs focused on start-up businesses in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn and an award-winning online graduate program. For more information, visit http://engineering.nyu.edu.

NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Related Engineering Articles:

Next frontier in bacterial engineering
A new technique overcomes a serious hurdle in the field of bacterial design and engineering.
COVID-19 and the role of tissue engineering
Tissue engineering has a unique set of tools and technologies for developing preventive strategies, diagnostics, and treatments that can play an important role during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Engineering the meniscus
Damage to the meniscus is common, but there remains an unmet need for improved restorative therapies that can overcome poor healing in the avascular regions.
Artificially engineering the intestine
Short bowel syndrome is a debilitating condition with few treatment options, and these treatments have limited efficacy.
Reverse engineering the fireworks of life
An interdisciplinary team of Princeton researchers has successfully reverse engineered the components and sequence of events that lead to microtubule branching.
New method for engineering metabolic pathways
Two approaches provide a faster way to create enzymes and analyze their reactions, leading to the design of more complex molecules.
Engineering for high-speed devices
A research team from the University of Delaware has developed cutting-edge technology for photonics devices that could enable faster communications between phones and computers.
Breakthrough in blood vessel engineering
Growing functional blood vessel networks is no easy task. Previously, other groups have made networks that span millimeters in size.
Next-gen batteries possible with new engineering approach
Dramatically longer-lasting, faster-charging and safer lithium metal batteries may be possible, according to Penn State research, recently published in Nature Energy.
What can snakes teach us about engineering friction?
If you want to know how to make a sneaker with better traction, just ask a snake.
More Engineering News and Engineering Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Meditations on Loneliness
Original broadcast date: April 24, 2020. We're a social species now living in isolation. But loneliness was a problem well before this era of social distancing. This hour, TED speakers explore how we can live and make peace with loneliness. Guests on the show include author and illustrator Jonny Sun, psychologist Susan Pinker, architect Grace Kim, and writer Suleika Jaouad.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#565 The Great Wide Indoors
We're all spending a bit more time indoors this summer than we probably figured. But did you ever stop to think about why the places we live and work as designed the way they are? And how they could be designed better? We're talking with Emily Anthes about her new book "The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of how Buildings Shape our Behavior, Health and Happiness".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Third. A TED Talk.
Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do you end a story? Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad tells how his search for an answer led him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher: Dolly Parton.Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.