According to the Washington Post, the managing director of a British energy company was tricked into sending thieves $240,000 to an account in Hungary using a voice-mimicking software, imitating a company executive. Researchers are calling this one of the first artificial intelligence heists.
Though the director acknowledged that the urgent request to wire money to an unknown account was strange, the voice was so convincing that he felt as if he had to comply.
Voice-synthesis software, such as the one used in the robbery, is being developed by a wide range of industry giants and start-ups, and can copy the minute patterns of a person’s voice. However impressive this technology, the use of synthetic audio and AI-generated videos has caused anxieties to grow due to issues of public trust, manipulation, and criminal activity.
Researchers at Symantec, a cybersecurity firm, say they have found at least similar cases where AI software was used to mimic executives’ voices to swindle companies. Developers are working to create systems to combat such crimes, but the rapid evolution of voice-mimicking technology currently leaves individuals and companies susceptible to an AI heist.