NASEM Board Hears Presentations on Deepfakes and AI 

The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, (NASEM) held the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Science’s (BBCSS) 49th Meeting on June 6th. This was Terri Moffit’s, PhD, last day as chair of NASEM BBCSS. The Chairmanship has passed to Elizabeth Phelps, PhD. Hany Farid, PhD, University of California, Berkeley, presented on deepfakes and Gary Marcus, PhD, New York University held a fireside chat on AI and cognitive science.  

[watch webcast here]

Dr. Hany Farid, a pioneer in digital forensics and image analysis research, led a captivating discussion on “Creating, (Mis)using, and Detecting Deepfakes.” He discussed the advancements in deep fake technology, including highly realistic image generation using Generative Adversarial Networks (GaNS) and diffusion-based- text-to-image work. The speaker demonstrated geometric techniques to analyze AI-generated images to detect authenticity. His insights highlighted the ethical dimensions of deep fakes, underscoring the need to safeguard against their misuse in disinformation campaigns and identity theft. 

Dr. Gary Marcus, a cognitive scientist and AI researcher offered a thought-provoking exploration of the current state of AI and its intersection with the cognitive and behavioral sciences. Dr. Marcus discussed the limitations of current Al models in understanding cognition and neuroscience, and emphasized the imminent threat posed by AI on disinformation to democratic processes. Marcus explained the critical role of cognitive science in understanding human susceptibility to misinformation and the need for empirical research.  

Dr. Marcus advocated for more oversight and auditing of AI systems, a recommendation also made by PIBBS Journal authors Eleanor F. Yan, PhD, Georgia State University, and Kathryn S. McCarthy, PhD, Georgia State University (and a FABBS 2024 Early Career Impact Awardee). They wrote that, “The rapid development of AI demands that policymakers, researchers, developers, and educators engage in collaborative and accelerated research and development toward theory-driven technologies that are effective and equitable”(McCarthy & Yan, 2023). 

Dr. Farid and Dr. Marcus’s presentations underscored the multifaceted challenges and opportunities inherent in AI development, showing the importance of responsible innovation guided by ethical principles, policy action and legislation.   


McCarthy, K. S., & Yan, E. F. (2023). Reading Comprehension and Constructive Learning: Policy Considerations in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. Policy Insights From the Behavioral and Brain Sciences.