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AI Deception vs. C.S. Lewis’ ‘The Final Battle’: The Pivotal Connection Explained by PDG Vice President, Ryan Waite

Ryan Waite

There’s no denying that the technology we have today is both astounding and, in some ways, unnerving. Among the most contentious of these developments is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to create astonishingly realistic fake images and videos. This sparks comparisons with a storyline from C.S. Lewis’ final book in the Chronicles of Narnia series, “The Final Battle,” in which a cunning character named Shift constructs a false representation of Aslan, the revered lion symbolizing truth and morality.

Wrestling with Deception

Shift plays a dangerous game in “The Final Battle,” exploiting the deep admiration the Narnians hold for Aslan. He creates a poor imitation of the revered lion, using a donkey named Puzzle clad in a lion’s skin. Through this, Shift gains power and influence, leading to widespread confusion, fear, and chaos.

We see a similar picture unfolding in the world of AI today. We now have the ability to generate convincing yet entirely fabricated images (like a fire at the Pentagon 😬), deepfakes, and other forms of media. Such AI tools can create life-like renditions of people and places, even mimicking voices and expressions to the tee. It’s a reality that, when manipulated for malicious intent, can have harmful implications akin to the disorder caused by Shift’s deceptive Aslan. These can range from spreading false information to influencing public sentiment and even inciting panic.

Trust in the Balance

Shift’s false Aslan was so damaging because of the trust and reverence the Narnians had for the real Aslan. In a similar vein, AI, given its pervasive use in various facets of life – from healthcare to education to entertainment – has gained a certain degree of trust from us. However, when this trust is exploited to create false narratives and imagery, the potential for harm is significant.

The Value of Critical Thinking

Even amidst the turmoil that Shift’s false Aslan brings, some Narnians start noticing discrepancies between the real Aslan and the imposter. This discernment helps bring the truth to light.

In the world of AI, discernment is equally important. As AI becomes more sophisticated in creating hyper-realistic, yet false media, the need for us to critically analyze and evaluate content has never been more important. It underscores the importance of media literacy and an ethical framework to guide AI usage.

The story of Shift and his false Aslan in “The Final Battle” provides a stark cautionary tale about the misuse of power and trust – one that resonates strongly in our technological landscape today. As we continue to harness the capabilities of AI, it’s essential to ensure it serves us well and doesn’t lead us astray. Our challenge is to foster an environment of transparency, responsibility, and critical literacy so that we can fully appreciate the benefits of AI without falling prey to its potential for deception.

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