Google expands digital watermarks to AI-made video and text


As Google starts to make its latest video-generation tools available, the company says it has a plan to ensure transparency around the origins of its increasingly realistic AI-generated clips. All video made by the company’s new Veo model in the VideoFX app will have digital watermarks thanks to Google’s SynthID system. Furthermore, SynthID will be able to watermark AI-generated text that comes from Gemini.

SynthID is Google’s digital watermarking system that started rolling out to AI-generated images last year. The tech embeds imperceptible watermarks into AI-made content so that AI detection tools can recognize that the content was generated by AI. Considering that Veo, the company’s latest video generation model previewed onstage at I/O, can create longer and higher-res clips than what was previously possible, tracking the source of such content will be increasingly important.

As generative AI models advance, more companies have turned to watermarking amid fears that AI could fuel a new wave of misinformation. Watermarking systems would give platforms like Google a framework for detecting AI-generated content that may otherwise be impossible to distinguish. TikTok and Meta have also recently announced plans to support similar detection tools on their platforms and label more AI content in their apps.

Of course, there are still significant questions about whether digital watermarks on their own offer sufficient protection against deceptive AI content. Researchers have shown that watermarks can be easy to evade. But making AI-made content detectable in some way is an important first step toward transparency.

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