Can ‘Discriminative AI’ Help Us in the Fight For the Truth?


Generative AI vs Discriminative AI in the fight against misinformation. As deepfake material rises, can Discriminative AI help us with the truth?

Key Takeaway:

  • Explore the rising clash between Generative and Discriminative AI in the fight against misinformation.
  • Each AI type plays a crucial role in shaping the evolving landscape.
  • Discriminative AI may prove to be a robust defense, detecting patterns and countering deepfake tech.

In the domain of AI, generative AI and discriminative AI stand as two distinct approaches to AI development. The former is dedicated to creating new content, while the latter specializes in classifying existing data. These two approaches have long been regarded as fundamental in shaping AI systems.

However, the recent surge in generative AI’s prowess, particularly in producing text and images closely resembling human creations, has ushered in a new era, where generative AI is becoming a significant source of misleading information.

And in response, discriminative AI is evolving as a defensive strategy.

This article explores the nuances of this evolving frontier, examining the interplay between Generative and Discriminative and shedding light on the challenges posed by the growing potential of generative AI in generating deceptive content.

Generative vs. Discriminative AI: Two Unique Paths

Generative and discriminative AI represent divergent philosophies and applications within the field.

Generative models delve into understanding and simulating the underlying data structure, learning the probability distribution of the entire dataset. This makes them adept at generating new data points resembling the training set, proving valuable in tasks such as image and text generation.


On the other hand, discriminative models concentrate on delineating boundaries between different classes in the data, excelling in tasks like image classification and natural language processing (NLP). The choice between these approaches hinges on the task at hand, with generative models fostering creativity and diversity and discriminative models optimizing classification accuracy.

Generative AI: Unveiling the Pandora’s Box of Misinformation

Recent advancements in generative AI, exemplified by models like ChatGPT, LLaMa, Google Bard, Stable Diffusion, and DALL-E, showcase an unprecedented ability to create diverse data instances.

Leveraging human instructions, these systems produce outputs indistinguishable from human-generated content, opening new frontiers in healthcare, law, education, and science.

However, this creative potential harbors a significant risk — the generation of convincingly misleading content on a large scale. The types of misinformation can be categorized into model-driven and human-driven.

Model-Driven Misinformation: The Hallucination Effect

Large language models (LLMs) trained on vast internet datasets may inadvertently generate responses based on inaccuracies, biases, or misinformation present in the training data — a phenomenon known as model hallucination. A notorious example of this phenomenon occurred during Bard’s inauguration, where it falsely claimed that the James Webb Space Telescope captured the “very first pictures” of an exoplanet.

The subsequent repercussions, a significant $100 billion loss in the market value of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, underscored the real-world consequences of model-driven misinformation.

While strides have been made in addressing model hallucination, this article primarily focuses on the emerging issue of human-driven misinformation.

Human-Driven Misinformation: A Growing Threat

In the initial weeks of January 2023, OpenAI, the company responsible for ChatGPT, undertook a research initiative to assess the potential of large language models in generating misinformation.

Their findings indicated that these language models could become instrumental for propagandists and reshape the online influence operations landscape.

Subsequently, in the same year, Freedom House released a report revealing that governments and political entities worldwide, both democracies and autocracies, are leveraging AI to generate texts, images, and videos to manipulate public opinion in their favor.

The report documented the use of generative AI in 16 countries, illustrating its deployment to “sow doubt, smear opponents, or influence public debate.

Another significant generative AI technology contributing to the proliferation of misinformation is deepfake material. This technology primarily focuses on crafting authentic-looking fabricated content, encompassing manipulated videos, audio recordings, or images portraying individuals engaging in actions or making statements they never actually performed. Many examples of deepfake videos are available on the internet.

Discriminative AI: A Shield Against Misinformation

As generative AI advances, contributing to the surge in misinformation, discriminative AI emerges as a crucial line of defense.

Leveraging its prowess to distinguish between authentic and deceptive content, discriminative AI employs machine learning algorithms. These algorithms are instrumental in detecting discriminatory patterns that delineate true from false information, conducting rigorous fact-checks against reputable sources, and scrutinizing user behavior to identify potential instances of misinformation.

Detecting deepfakes through discriminative AI requires the implementation of advanced discriminative AI methodologies, such as deep learning, to unveil subtle inconsistencies or artifacts present in manipulated media.

Diverse techniques are employed for this purpose, each addressing specific aspects of deception. Facial analysis scrutinizes anomalies in expressions, blinking patterns, and eye movements, while audio analysis focuses on detecting irregularities in voice synthesis, tone, pitch, and audio-visual synchronization.

Image and video analysis involves identifying artifacts, face warping, and ensuring consistency across frames. To enhance its capabilities, discriminative AI relies on deep learning models, including Convolutional Neural Networks and Transformer, trained to recognize evolving patterns indicative of deepfakes.

Challenges and the Road Ahead: Mitigating the Misinformation Threat

The potential of generative AI to produce misinformation poses a significant threat with dire consequences spanning politics to public health and beyond. As technology becomes more powerful, misinformation grows more sophisticated, making it increasingly challenging to discern fact from fiction. Addressing this emergent situation requires the implementation of AI regulations to combat the issue effectively.

Empowering discriminative AI, which takes a backseat during the emergence of generative AI, is crucial for countering misinformation and enforcing AI regulations.

To achieve this, continual updates, improvements, and ethical collaboration between discriminative AI and human moderators are imperative for effective misinformation mitigation.

Given the evolving nature of the deepfake landscape, continuous research and development efforts are essential. These efforts aim to devise new methods that stay ahead of increasingly sophisticated deepfake techniques, ensuring that discriminative AI remains a robust and adaptive shield against the evolving challenges of misinformation in the AI era.

The Bottom Line

The surge in generative AI’s creative capabilities has brought forth a parallel rise in the risk of misinformation. This article navigates the intricate relationship between generative and discriminative AI, highlighting their distinct roles in this evolving landscape.

As generative AI advances, posing a significant threat of deceptive content, discriminative AI emerges as a crucial defense mechanism.

From detecting discriminatory patterns to countering deepfake technologies, it protects against misinformation.

The key lies in continual updates, ethical collaboration, and proactive research to stay ahead of evolving challenges. In this delicate balance, AI regulations and the empowerment of discriminative AI play pivotal roles in mitigating the impending threat of misinformation, ensuring a trustworthy AI future.


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Dr. Tehseen Zia

Dr. Tehseen Zia has Doctorate and more than 10 years of post-Doctorate research experience in Artificial Intelligence (AI). He is Tenured Associate Professor and leads AI research at Comsats University Islamabad, and co-principle investigator in National Center of Artificial Intelligence Pakistan. In the past, he has worked as research consultant on European Union funded AI project Dream4cars.