Using AI and Blockchain for Authoritative Authentication of Wartime Footage

Solutions for authoritative authentication of wartime footage using artificial intelligence deep learning and blockchain decentralization

Using AI and Blockchain for Authoritative Authentication of Wartime Footage
Photo by Scott Graham / Unsplash

In an era where misinformation spreads rapidly online, verifying the authenticity of videos from conflict zones has become a crucial need. Manipulated or decontextualized footage can shape narratives about wars, military operations, and geopolitical crises, swaying public opinion. This article explores cutting-edge solutions for authoritative authentication of wartime footage using artificial intelligence (AI) deep learning and blockchain decentralization.

Training Advanced Neural Networks to Detect Anomalies in Combat Videos

Powerful deep learning techniques enable automatically analyzing visual content like wartime footage for integrity and consistency. AI systems can be trained to:

  • Classify weapons, vehicles, scenes, and actions frame-by-frame by applying convolutional and recurrent neural networks. Models can identify tanks, guns, explosions, protests, rallies, buildings, and more at the object level in videos.
  • Detect specific manipulations like splicing, CGI, edits, and deepfakes through forensic analysis. Techniques include searching for inconsistent generative ML artifacts, lighting and reflections, identifying source models, and other data-driven flagged inconsistencies.
  • Match new footage against geolocated maps, weather data, and shadow projections to identify anomalies. Computer vision algorithms can extract landmarks for cross-referencing locations, identify cloud formations and lighting conditions, and compare shadows and reflections against geographical and weather databases to reveal fabrication.
  • Analyze audio tracks and narration against verified historical recordings of speeches by world leaders and other figures using NLP and speech processing. This can detect doctored voiceovers or fabricated statements.

To apply these techniques, curated datasets containing many examples of legitimate wartime footage are needed to train machine learning models to recognize real patterns. Neural network architectures like convolutional networks, RNNs, and transformers can learn robust statistical representations to differentiate authentic footage from manipulated or simulated content.

However, AI has limitations in deception detection currently. State-of-the-art generative adversarial networks and similar deepfake methods can synthesize fake imagery and footage that evades detection by today's algorithms. Adversaries can also design manipulations specifically to fool AI detection systems. There is an ongoing arms race between the capabilities of synthesis and detection techniques. Continued research into forensic analysis, robust classification, adversarial hardening, and novelty detection is required as both generation and verification capabilities continue advancing.

Verifying Video Provenance Through Digital Signatures, Watermarking and Blockchain IDs

In addition to technical verification, the source context around footage also matters greatly in evaluating authenticity. Videos coming directly from reputable news organizations and journalists with direct access carry more inherent credibility. Individuals can also establish legitimacy through cryptographic verification techniques.

First-hand footage from trusted, verified sources on the ground often has more credibility than anonymously posted content. Digital signatures, blockchain-based identity management systems, watermarking, and provenance tracking can help reliably establish the creator and ownership context of videos.

Recording AI Verification Outcomes on Tamper-Resistant Blockchains

Once wartime footage has been analyzed for anomalies and verification signals extracted, creating permanent tamper-proof records of the results becomes critical. Blockchain technology provides decentralized, transparent ledgers ideal for immutable storage of AI verification outcomes.

Smart contracts on networks like Ethereum encode the rules for calling the trained AI models to analyze new footage, register their predictions, and commit verification results to the blockchain. The unique cryptographic hash of each video file serves as its identifier on chain. Tying footage hashes to verification data builds a permanent audit trail.

Storing just the essential verification information rather than full videos saves substantial space while still providing public auditability. Anyone can read the smart contract logic and trace verification data on chain. The decentralized nature prevents centralized modification, since changes require consensus on the blockchain.

Distilling Granular Authentication Confidence Metrics

The predictions from AI verification models can be distilled into granular authentication confidence scores for each video, ranging from 0% to 100% likely authentic based on analysis.

These nuanced metrics enable filtering and surfacing highly credible footage, ranking content by legitimacy, and flagging suspect or ambiguous material for further scrutiny. Videos with higher authenticity scores can be prioritized for dissemination by news media and content platforms.

Well-designed smart contracts govern amalgamating different verification signals like technical flags, source reputation, and context matching into unified confidence scores. The aggregations logic is visible to all participants on the blockchain.

Leveraging Uncensorable Decentralized Storage for Video Content

While the blockchain secures essential verification data in a tamper-resistant manner, the raw video files require separate decentralized storage. Blockchains are ill-suited to storing large media blobs efficiently. Distributed filesystems like IPFS are ideal for hosting uncensorable video content at scale.

The footage files can be uploaded to decentralized storage networks, generating a unique content identifier hash. This hash serves as a pointer, recorded on the blockchain alongside the verification data for that specific footage. Users can resolve the hash to retrieve videos from peer nodes, while the blockchain guarantees their integrity.

Combining decentralized storage with an immutable ledger of verification records makes manipulating or censoring wartime footage very difficult, providing a robust evidence trail for establishing authenticity claims.

While AI and blockchain offer promising authentication mechanisms, thoughtful design is essential to address risks around accuracy, bias, transparency, and end-user experience:

  • Verification algorithms must be rigorously benchmarked to minimize false positives and negatives across demographics. Factual confidence levels are superior to binary authentic/inauthentic judgments.
  • Training data, model limitations, and explanations for verification outcomes should be as transparent as possible while protecting privacy. This enables scrutiny and accountability.
  • Interfaces should enable accessing granular verification trails instead of blanket judgments. Users can reconstruct the evidence behind scores.
  • Adversaries will continue developing manipulations that deliberately subvert AI classifiers. Continued research into hardening countermeasures is needed.
  • There are ethical concerns around bias in training data, environmental impact of mining hardware, and appropriate governance processes for autonomous verification systems.

Enabling Reliable Authentication of Digital Content Through Responsible Innovation

If designed and governed carefully, sophisticated AI and blockchain architectures offer immense promise in surfacing credible information, countering misinformation, enabling authoritative verification, and preserving truth when reliability matters most.

Progress requires continued diligence - both technical and ethical - from researchers, developers, policymakers and society as these technologies continue maturing. But thoughtfully combining decentralized AI analysis and blockchain integrity records paves an important path towards reliable authentication for high-stakes digital content like wartime footage.

Subscribe to Endeavours Way

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.