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Navigating the Hype, Hope and Doom of OpenAI’s Sora

OpenAI’s new video generating model Sora has the ability to create stunning visuals once you enter a text prompt. The company appears to have taken a tremendous stride into the world of video generation through text prompts, blurring the lines between reality and simulation. But with such a realistic simulation, it prompts an urgent question that needs to be addressed before it reaches the public: How will Sora impact the world?

What Is Sora?

Sora is OpenAI’s new video generating tool that uses generative AI to turn text prompts into video. It’s currently in early access and being tested by red team cybersecurity experts before being released to the public.   

As with ChatGPT and DALL-E, which unsettled people, businesses and industries initially, OpenAI’s Sora is potentially capable of disrupting the video making vertical. It raises similar concern among those who understand the nuances of AI and the dangers that can come with it.

While there are some peculiar advantages aligned to Sora, which is why it may be hailed as a groundbreaking AI tool, others may rightly fear it as the harbinger of a dystopian future.

So, what should we expect from Sora? Does it offer any hope? Or will it be a harbinger of doom for many? And most importantly, how should we handle it? Let’s find out.


What Are the Concerns Surrounding Sora AI?

New AI tools have always produced both dissenters and adopters, and Sora’s case is no different. Imagine videos of a politician delivering a fabricated speech during a polarizing election, or an altruistic public figure endorsing an anti-social product or a celebrity appearing in a compromising video. How would you identify which videos are real and which ones are fabricated from Sora? 

The text-to-video model of Sora understands not only what the user has asked for in the prompt, but also how those things exist in the physical world, which makes it scarier. Its ability to create near-flawless, realistic videos has ignited concerns about deep fakes. Malicious actors could use this technology to manipulate public opinion, spread misinformation or even impersonate individuals for nefarious purposes. Its functions are eerily convincing, and no one must doubt that.

A professor from Princeton University, identifies that videos produced through Sora display some strange glitches when depicting complex scenes with lots of movement. He suggests that such deepfake videos will be detectable for now, but in the long run, it may impact the society if we don’t adapt. 

Still, the fact that Sora’s simulation of the real world is so immaculate and convincing for the public at large, must leave us thinking, where is AI headed? Who is going to benefit from it? And who will bear its brunt? Sora’s outputs are described by Rachel Tobac, co-founder of the white hat hacking organization, as an “order of magnitude more believable and less cartoonish than its predecessors, and this brings with itself myriad cybersecurity risks.

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What Are the Benefits of Sora? 

Painting Sora as a completely villainous entity wouldn’t be accurate. It’s crucial to remember that technology itself is not inherently good or bad, and Sora brings with it many positives. From early observations of the model, Sora has the potential to revolutionize fields like education, healthcare, e-commerce, animation, music and entertainment, among others. 

Think of historical figures brought to life in interactive simulations, learning in educational institutions becoming more interactive and focused through easy text-to-video pedagogical techniques. Imagine personalized medical consultations conducted by AI avatars, or immersive storytelling experiences that push the boundaries of reality. Sounds great, right? The reality, however, may land somewhere in the middle.


What Issues Will Need to Be Addressed With Sora?

Sora could have a tremendous impact, transforming fields like education, politics, healthcare, entertainment, short form video creation, e-commerce, scientific visualizations and film making. Some of these changes could be for the good, others for the worse. Ultimately, people in those fields will need to adapt.

Sora also brings the potential to exacerbate misinformation. Though considering Sora’s potential for abuse, OpenAI is being cautious and is taking its time before making it available for access to the general public. But the question remains, will that be enough? Or, as always, will there be ways for hackers to penetrate into and misuse it as per their whim? The possibility, of course, can’t be ruled out. 

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How to Prepare for Sora  

With Sora looking inevitable, there are some steps we can take to protect against some of its more dangerous qualities.

The eerily convincing character of Sora should make us behave alertly and responsibly, knowing that it can affect us directly. Questioning the veracity of a video, sound or image can help us shift our behavior towards becoming a bit cautious and aware of the repercussions of technology. We must be judicious in the use of technology, as AI models become more prevalent in society. 

Looking for some weird things and movements in the video or some other strange glitches that are easily discernible can help catch and tackle the misuse of Sora-generated videos.  

Additionally, the key lies in responsible development and deployment. Open and transparent dialogue among developers, policymakers and the public is crucial to mitigate potential risks that are naturally accrued to any incumbent technology. For example, YouTube released a policy encouraging creators to label any AI generated videos to create a distinction between real videos and AI ones. 

Moreover, governments continue to contemplate establishing ethical frameworks for AI and safeguards against misuse of such technology.

The line between reality and illusion is getting blurred with each passing day. With Sora preparing for a launch, technology enthusiasts, developers, governments and other stakeholders will have to step forward to bear the responsibility collectively so that clarity can emerge. While the developers and red teamers can take care of potential risks that may arise out of its use, the government must put in place stringent measures to oversee how the technology is utilized. The possibilities that Sora is expected to arrive with are highly promising and unsettling at the same time.

We must, nevertheless, develop the necessary skills to discern fact from fiction, become meticulous, and foster a culture of multimedia literacy so that we avoid the pitfalls that come along with Sora. While we do this, we must remember that every disruption that technology brings is always, initially, threatening but it inherently accompanies a lot of hype and hope. We’ll just have to see what Sora picks up on.

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