OpenAI’s new text-to-video tool, Sora, has one artificial intelligence expert “terrified”

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Another groundbreaking generative artificial intelligence tool from the company behind ChatGPT unveiled Thursday is expected to accelerate the proliferation of deepfake videos and have implications for virtually every industry. 

Sora, an AI application that takes written prompts and turns them into original videos, is already so powerful that one AI expert says it has him “terrified.” 

“Generative AI tools are evolving so rapidly, and we have social network — which leads to an Achilles heel in our democracy and it couldn’t have happened at a worse time,” Oren Etzioni, founder of TruMedia.org, told CBS MoneyWatch. The nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting AI-based disinformation in political campaigns focuses on identifying manipulated media, including so-called deepfake videos

“As we’re trying to sort this out we’re coming up against one of the most consequential elections in history,” he added, referring to the 2024 presidential election. 

Sora maker OpenAI shared a teaser of its text-to-video model on X, explaining that it can instantaneously create sophisticated, 60-second-long videos “featuring highly detailed scenes, complex camera motion and multiple characters with vibrant emotions.”

The tool is not yet publicly available. For the time being, OpenAI has restricted its use to “red teamers” and some visual artists, designers and filmmakers to test the product and deliver feedback to the company before it’s released more widely. 

Safety experts will evaluate the tool to understand how it could potentially create misinformation and hateful content, OpenAI said.

Landing soon

Advances in technology have seemingly outpaced checks and balances on these kinds of tools, according to Etzioni, who believes in using AI for good and with guardrails in place. 

“We’re trying to build this airplane as we’re flying it, and it’s going to land in November if not before — and we don’t have the Federal Aviation Administration, we don’t have the history and we don’t have the tools in place to do this,” he said. 

All that’s stopping the tool from becoming widely available is the company itself, Etzioni said, adding that he’s confident Sora, or a similar technology from an OpenAI competitor, will be released to the public in the coming months. 

Of course, any ordinary citizen can be affected by a deepfake scam, in addition to celebrity targets. 

“And [Sora] will make it even easier for malicious actors to generate high-quality video deepfakes, and give them greater flexibility to create videos that could be used for offensive purposes,”  Dr. Andrew Newell, chief scientific officer for identify verification firm, iProov, told CBS MoneyWatch. 

This puts the onus on organizations, like banks, to develop their own AI-based tools to protect consumers against potential threats. 

Banks that rely on video authentication security measures are most exposed, he added. 

Threat to actors, creators

The tool’s capabilities are most closely related to skills of workers in content creation, including filmmaking, media and more. 

“Voice actors or people who make short videos for video games, education purposes or ads will be the most immediately affected,” he said. 

“For professions like marketing or creative, multimodal models could be a game changer and could create significant cost savings for film and television makers, and may contribute to the proliferation of AI-generated content rather than using actors,” Reece Hayden, senior analyst at ABI Research, a tech intelligence company, told CBS MoneyWatch.

Given that it makes it easier for anyone — even those without artistic ability — to create visual content, Sora could let users develop choose-your-own-adventure-style media. 

Even a major player like “Netflix could enable end users to develop their own content based on prompts,” Hayden said. 

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