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Vox Populi: UK Metallers Kilonova Talk Fake News, AI-Generated Content, and Deep Fake Technology

In our latest Vox Populi interview, rising British metallers Kilonova give us their thoughts on the contentious topics of fake news and AI-generated content in the modern information age.




Unstoppable Northern metallers Kilonova returned with their explosive new EP, Moment of Clarity, on May 5th, 2023. Ahead of its release, the band dropped their blistering single and video, “Fragments,” check that out just below.

Having steadily built their reputation for delivering a ferocious live show, the band already has one EP, the much-praised Omnicide and a stand-alone single, “Immortal,” to their name and emerge from the pandemic with a revitalized sound and intensity.

Bassist Joe Bambrick comments about the EP:

Moment of Clarity is our mission statement. We’ve captured that lightning in a bottle of a Kilonova show. This is the sound that has always been in our heads. This is Kilonova.”

In our latest Vox Populi, the rising British metallers give us their thoughts on the contentious topics of fake news and AI-generated content in the modern information age.

No matter what your political or ethical outlook is, there are issues and topics that we are all passionate about. Some examples are climate change, human rights, poverty, military conflicts, prejudice, and economic disparity. With this in mind, what’s the issue or topic that you are most passionate about?

Kilonova: “The idea that we’re now in the post-truth world is absolutely terrifying to me; it’s such a bizarre state of things that any piece of news can be manipulated, deep-faked, or AI-generated. I think we’re only starting to realize how much danger that puts us in.”

Why is this issue so important to you?

“If you can’t trust the information that’s available to you, there’s no way to address any issue with any real confidence. It completely poisons any politics, journalism, and such so it makes every other challenge that people are facing so much harder to address.”

What do you see as the biggest contributing factors to the issue?

“Ultimately, the driving factors are the same as almost any issue; those with power and influence will always try to use it to maintain or grow their wealth and power. Now we’re in the information age, which means that anyone with the ability to shape people’s ideas of what’s true and what’s important has a huge amount of power. Using it responsibly isn’t usually the most profitable thing, so why would they?”

Kilonova 'Moment of Clarity' Album Artwork

Kilonova ‘Moment of Clarity’ Album Artwork

Who are the key players involved in this issue today?

“It’s so multifaceted, with AI and deep-fake type technologies progressing so fast anyone can fake anything. Any random person with the right software can put words in people’s mouths. It’s so decentralized that as much as the people who develop these tools are doing a lot to shape the issue; as soon as the genie is out of the bottle, fake news can come from anywhere. It’s impossible to predict. Combine that with social media that amplifies the most controversial and inflammatory content, and it’s primed to send anything viral if it targets people’s emotions.”

If you could have everyone in the world hear you for one minute, what would you tell them about this topic?

“Be conscious of your sources for information and don’t succumb to the knee-jerk reaction that clickbait headlines want you to feel. Understand that even people trying to write as neutrally and factually as possible will have internal biases. Do they provide sources for what they say? Does that source contain any other information that isn’t being mentioned? Are there other sources that may have opposing agendas and biases?

“If they’re also agreeing on details, then they’re likely true; if they’re offering a totally different narrative, then do they provide solid evidence to back it up? Remember, your understanding of any issue is almost guaranteed to be incomplete. Use your head, not your gut. Remember, no one is immune to propaganda, even you.”

What would be the simplest solution to this issue? Would you want to take this approach?

“We can’t un-invent the tools that make this kind of post-truth world possible as much as maybe we would like to. The issue is any solution has to still be compatible with people’s freedom of expression; you can’t just censor your way out. You can’t silence dissenting voices for disagreeing because that so easily turns to tyranny, no matter how well-intentioned it might start. More technology to detect these kinds of fakes can go some way to prevent it spreading, but still, it’s a constant arms race to do so.

“It’s impossible to foresee what will happen, so the prevention tech is always on the back foot reacting to the newest threat. It sounds like a cop-out, but the onus has to be on the consumer to scrutinize their information sources, and that’s getting harder and harder to do. There’s no easy answer, or this wouldn’t be an issue in the first place, I suppose.”

What musician or artist has been the most vocal about this topic?

“Distrust of power has always been central to so much metal and hardcore, and it’s something I’ve definitely become more conscious of it through music. There’s no one artist I think can be pointed out as the figurehead. It’s an ethos that carries through the whole thrash movement. The problem is the louder someone shouts about it, the more it can grow their career and sphere of influence. They have to be careful not to then become part of the problem. I don’t know if power corrupts, but I think it’s irresistible to the corrupt.”

If left unchecked, where do you see this issue heading in the years to come?

“I expect we’re going to see the control of these tools become very guarded by the people who build them. The more these technologies advance, the more power they give the user, and so the more valuable it is to protect that. I expect that the owners of these powerful AI tools and such will become even wealthier and more influential as they can shape how people think about the world around them. They’re not going to support any politician that wants to diminish their power or regulate and police their usage. These tools will inevitably be used to further cement the power that they afford their owners, and that will very likely come at the expense of the rest of us.”

I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.