A Convenient Deep-Fake Time Saver

February 1, 2023

There are some real concerns about deepfakes, and identifying AI imposters remains a challenge. Amid the excitement, there is one outfit determined to put the troublesome tech to use for average folks. We learn about a recent trial run in Motherboard‘s piece, “Researcher Deepfakes His Voice, Uses AI to Demand Refund from Wells Fargo.” 

Yes, among other things, Do Not Pay is working to take the tedium out of wrangling with customer service. Writer Joseph Cox describes a video posted on Twitter by founder Joshua Browder in which he uses an AI copy of his voice to request a refund for certain wire transfer fees. In the clip, the tool appears to successfully negotiate with a live representative, though a Wells Fargo spokesperson claims this was not the case and the video was doctored. Browder vigorously insists it was not. We are told Motherboard has requested a recording of the call from Wells Fargo’s side, but they had apparently not supplied on as of this writing. Cox writes:

“‘Hi, I’m calling to get a refund for wire transfer fees,’ the fake Browder says around half way through the clip. The customer support worker then asks for the callers first and last name, which the bot dutifully provides. For a while, the bot and worker spar back and forth on which wire transfer fees the bot is calling about, before settling on the fees for the past three months. In a tweet, Browder said the tool was built from a combination of Resemble.ai, a site that lets users create their own AI voices, GPT-J, an open source casual language model, and Do Not Pay’s own AI models for the script. Do Not Pay has previously used AI-powered bots to negotiate Comcast bills. The conversation from this latest bot is very unnatural. There are long pauses where the bot processes what the customer support worker has said, and works on its response. You can’t help but feel bad for the Wells Fargo worker who had to sit silently while the bot slowly did its thing. But in this case, the bot was effective and did manage to secure the refunds, judging by the video.”

Do Not Pay does plan to make this time-saving tool available to the public, though equipping it with one’s own voice will be a premium option. As uses for deep fake technology go, this does seem like one of the least nefarious. Corporations like Wells Fargo, however, may disagree.

Cynthia Murrell, February 1, 2023


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