AI Deepfakes of Russian Women Promote Russia-China Ties

Videos manipulated by artificial intelligence on Chinese sites use young, supposedly Russian women to promote the China-Russia relationship, the New York Times reported on May 20. The videos often have hashtags such as “Russian wife” and “Russian beauty.”

The Chinese short-video platform Douyin (the Chinese version of TikTok) has a woman speaking in Mandarin about how much she loves Chinese food and asking Chinese men to marry “us Russian women.” She promised, “Russian people don’t trick Chinese people.” The video, however, was AI-manipulated footage of Australian Shadé Zahrai, a career strategist with more than 1.7 million TikTok followers.

Another deepfake victim was Olga Loiek, a Ukrainian college student at the University of Pennsylvania. Deepfake versions of Loiek appeared all over Chinese social media sites. In one such video, her lips are synced to fluent Mandarin saying: “I really envy my Chinese friends. You’re born with the world’s most precious identity and most profound and charming language.”

Another video shows Loiek thanking the Chinese for supporting Russia through its economic difficulty. “In the past year, the entire world is boycotting Russia, imposing all kinds of restrictions and difficulties on us. China is like a savior,” she says.

The videos look and sound realistic. But Loiek does not speak Chinese and would never support Russian-Chinese relations that way, she said in an interview.

China-Russia ties: Relations between China and Russia have strengthened significantly in the last few years. Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping last week to reaffirm their “no limits” partnership. Chinese sales of military equipment to Russia soared last year, and trade between the two hit a record high.

AI and its ability to spread propaganda will likely play a major role in further strengthening the relationship and controlling the people. The two countries have already discussed how to use artificial intelligence in their military.

To learn about the danger AI and deepfakes pose, read “Artificial Intelligence and Another Attempt to Steal the Election.”