Questionable content, possibly linked

digitalSourceType & Generative AI in C2PA

I’m only just beginning to wrap my mind around C2PA, but I reached out to them to help make sense of their fairly complex standard and try to understand how it can accommodate sites and services which produce AI-generated artifacts like images especially (or text or video).

From what I understand, C2PA is sort of a collection of metadata about the origins of a piece of media (apart from a watermark – it’s a different approach). It seems to be aimed at proactive disclosure about provenance, which corresponds well with a certain strain of thinking in generative AI, that it is potentially good and desirable to have the ability to (and option to decide whether to) effectively disclose the presence of synthetic media in a responsible way.

Anyway, someone there wrote back and pointed me to something called digitalSourceType in the spec. This apparently comes from a body called the IPTC, or the International Press Telecommunications Council, which Wikipedia says is involved with:

IPTC aims at simplifying the distribution of information. To achieve this technical standards are developed to improve the management and exchange of information between content providers, intermediaries and consumers. IPTC is committed to open standards and makes all standards freely available to its members and the wider community.

There is a detailed description of digitalSourceType here, and the different possible values it can take. I’m also seeing used in that document a short form which appears to be: digsrctype.

A few of these possible values are of greatest interest to me for the purposes of both generative AI, but also more broadly for hyperreality as a mixed media art form.

  • digitalArt: Media created by a human using digital tools
  • virtualRecording: Live recording of virtual event based on synthetic and optionally captured elements
  • compositeSynthetic: Mix or composite of several elements, at least one of which is synthetic
  • trainedAlgorithmicMedia: Digital media created algorithmically using a model derived from sampled content

There are some other ones, but probably the last is most accurate for generative AI images. Though I question whether an artist creating images with Stable Diffusion couldn’t also realistically use the label digitalArt? I’m not sure how fixed/narrow these definitions are supposed to be. Presumably, the best thing to do would be at the point of image creation, to enable the user to choose which source type setting to apply to any images created by tools which comply with this emerging standard.

I haven’t confirmed yet but so far have the impression the above mostly applies to still images? Not sure if it covers video too, and whether there is another category which would be a match for AI-generated & AI-assisted text, but I will investigate further.


Distributed story structure


trainedAlgorithmicMedia, not “deepfake”: IPTC

1 Comment

  1. Tim B.

    based on inclusion here it seems to apply to video as well:

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