How reliant are we on photos and videos? Look no further than the Super Bowl

If you happened to be in front of a TV screen on the evening of February 3, chances are you might have tuned into the NFL Super Bowl. Whether you are a fan of football, the teams, the advertisements, or just succumbed to pressure from your peers, you likely spent some time affixed to this annual tradition.

Unlike last year, when the Super Bowl suffered an unexpected glitch for a period of 30 seconds or so, this year’s broadcast was fairly trouble free, aside from a few sparse outages, which caused the “Twitter-verse” to light up for those who were affected. It’s not unusual that a glitch during an important sports broadcast might spark a bit of outrage.

Truth is, we have become more than just accustomed to video that offers high quality, fidelity and reliability — we have grown dependent on it. The quality of the video streaming into our living room tends to be so good, that we sometimes see mistakes eluding the officiating staff on the field, as in the case of a recent playoff game some have tried to wipe from memory. Not surprisingly, these cases tend to cause a great deal of controversy.

In the football world, video replay is sometimes able to resolve such controversies. After all, it follows the expectation that video is reliable, accurate, authentic and can be the final word in settling areas of dispute.

As it turns out, the expectation around video is no different for organizations, industries or government agencies that rely on photo and media technology on a regular basis. Like the football example, photos and videos, when accurate and authentic, can resolve disputes or contention. Such is the case with:

  • Dashcam videos: identifying the precise cause of an auto accident
  • Baseline photos: documenting the condition of a car or home. Think of a rental car or rental property where it would be good to document pre-existing damage

However, when photos and videos are of questionable accuracy and authenticity, they can pose a great deal of harm. Consider the impact of tainted photos or videos in the case of:

  • Police or surveillance videos: which become part of the evidence presented in a trial whose outcome can affect the livelihood of one or many individuals
  • Medical imaging: which drives diagnoses and treatments which can be life-saving for patients
  • Social media or news sites: which drive people’s perception and can cause a lot of confusion

The problem is that not all photos and videos originate from a single trusted source. Moreover, no matter the origin, digital media can easily be altered by photo editing tools, AI or deepfakes.

Thankfully, we have reached a point where technology can establish the authenticity and accuracy of photos and videos. How is this done? By registering photos and videos at the point of creation on a distributed ledger or blockchain, a virtually immutable structure. Combining registration with the ability to validate the authenticity and chain of custody of the media, without the need for forensic expertise, is a game changer. Translation? With new technology, anyone can easily determine whether a photo or video is authentic or has been tampered.

Expect this technology to first appear in industries, organizations and government agencies where authenticity and chain of custody matter most. No doubt, you can anticipate this technology to eventually make its way into your own home.

Now if we could just get those officials to always make the right call…

Are fake photos and videos a looming epidemic?

Have you ever found yourself questioning the veracity of a photo or video that you saw online? If the answer is yes, that likely puts you in the majority of the population.

If your best method of analyzing a suspicious photo or video is a critical stare in an attempt to spot inconsistencies, that may not serve you well much longer.

I invite all of you to read my recently posted LinkedIn article entitled Real or Fake? How we landed on the cusp of an epidemic and how it can be solved in 2019. While writing the article and taking a moment to ponder just how much of an epidemic fake photos and videos have become, an old colleague of mine shared a recent article from Wired regarding how AI is being used to fake images. The implications of AI-assist for editing photos and videos suggest we are rapidly advancing to the point where faking photos is moving out of the realm of the expert photographer or creative technologist and into a realm where nearly anyone can use AI to alter an image. Just as importantly, the tampering is becoming harder and harder to detect.

Take a look at the article and visit our solutions page to see what we are doing to help organizations avoid this potentially costly problem. And let us know: do you think fake photos and video are a looming epidemic?

Why the value of cryptocurrency does not diminish the value of distributed ledger technology

Having followed the meteoric surge and subsequent drop in cryptocurrency prices over the past couple of years, one might be tempted to conclude that the underlying technology, blockchain or other distributed ledgers, are to blame for the implosion of cryptocurrency pricing we are suddenly experiencing.

In reality, this could not be farther from the truth, as the underlying blockchain technology has proven to be highly reliable over the course of this rise and fall in crypto pricing. Other factors, such as change in investor sentiment (there was a bubble after all), tightening government regulation on ICOs and the inability of existing tokenized currencies to functionally replace fiat currencies for payments are all substantially to blame for the recent drops in prices of cryptocurrencies.

That said, the somewhat wild distraction of crypto pricing fluctuations does not impede the use of distributed ledger technology for building a new breed of decentralized applications for the enterprise. Not only has distributed ledger technology proven to be operationally solid, it enables huge benefits ranging from non-repudiation, new sharing economies outside the boundaries of organizations and a promise of a future where trusted networks and smart contracts can replace the costly intermediaries we rely on a regular basis.

Enter companies like Attestiv, that help solve the difficult problem of provenance of photos and media in a way that requires no forensic analysis or expertise, maintains chain of custody and helps reduce costs while lessening reliance on intermediaries. This is where the enterprise value of blockchain technology begins to shine. It’s enterprise solutions that promise to catapult distributed ledger technology from an intriguing payment system, that may or may not ultimately replace fiat currency, to a technology staple that will become mandatory for many organizations over the next several years.

While enterprise adoption will unlikely happen overnight, distributed ledger technology is ready today and quickly evolving into easily consumable applications for organizations of all sizes and even individuals. Is there more work to be done? You bet. Over the coming months, expect to see tremendous improvements in the scale and economics of distributed ledger networks and the co-application of new technologies such as AI.

It’s an exciting time and we invite you on this transformational journey that will make distributed ledger technology an IT revolution!