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Japan’s Canon to Begin Selling Cameras Capable of Distinguishing Fake Images Made by Generative AI in 2024

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Canon Inc. head office in Ota Ward, Tokyo

Canon Inc. plans to begin selling cameras capable of distinguishing between AI-generated photos from genuine ones starting in 2024.

The new cameras will meet a technological standard for securing trustworthiness of digital data. Images taken can be edited with a special software product.

With the number of fake photo images on the rise, Canon expects the new cameras will meet the demands of companies and administrative organizations concerned with preventing the spread of misinformation.

Recorded data, such as capture date and location information, cannot be altered on the new cameras. Instead, users will need to use a special software which tracks the edit history of photos. If they use other software for editing, the data becomes labelled as not trustworthy, and thus other people can be noted that the images may be fake.

The company said the fake-distinguishing technology was proven effective through tests which lasted until the end of August. Canon aims to begin offering the new cameras for sale by the end of 2024.

The proliferation of generative AI products allows those without high-level technologies to produce realistic fake photo images. Such images, called “deepfakes,” are difficult to distinguish from genuine ones, and thus have risks of being used to infringe on others’ human rights or manipulating public opinions.

Canon expects that the new cameras will be utilized for news photos handled by the press, graphic evidence for investigation authorities, and identification photos for ID certificates.

Moves are being made in the camera industry to establish a standard for guaranteeing the authenticity of photos.

Sony Corp. is also developing a similar technology. Saying that “[the] Rapid progress of AI technology is deepening the problem of fake images,” the company announced that some of their camera models will be able to deal with such issues from spring in 2024.