You all will soon encounter ''The Artificial Intelligence'' of extremes will be a time and period and an era of mystery, debate, confusion and fear. This very present time is just a baseline of warning, trending upward.

A fraudster can now speak into a microphone or type in a prompt and have that speech very quickly translated into the target's voice.

Mr. Balasubramaniyan noted that one generative A.I. system, Microsoft VALL-E, could create a voice deepfake that said whatever a user wished using just three seconds of sampled audio.

On the CBS program ''60 minutes'' in May, Rachel Tobac, a security consultant, used software to so convincingly clone the voice of Sharyn Alfonsi, one of the program's correspondents, that she fooled a  ''60 Minutes'' employee into giving her Ms. Alfonsi's passport number.

The attack took only five minutes to put together, said Ms.Tobac, the chief executive of SocialProof Security. The tool she used became available for purchase in January.

While scary deepfake demos are a staple of security conferences, real-life attacks are still extremely rare, said Brett Baranek, the general manager of security and biometrics at Nuance, a voice technology vendor that Microsoft acquired in 2021.

The only successful breach of a Nuance customer, in October, took the attacker more than a dozen attempts to pull off.

Mr. Beranek's biggest concern is not attacks on call centers or automated systems. He worries about the fraud attempts where a caller reaches an individual directly.

'' I had a conversation just earlier this week with one of our customers,'' he said. '' They were saying, hey, Brett, it's great that we have our contact center secured - but what if somebody just calls our  C.E.O. directly on their cellphone and pretends to be somebody else?''

That's what happened to Kabatznik's case. According to the banker's description, he appeared to be trying to get her to transfer money to a new location, but the voice was repetitive, talking over her and using garbled phrases. The banker hung up.

'' It was like I was talking to her, but it made no sense,'' Mr. Kabatznik said she had told him. [ A Bank of America spokesman declined to make the banker available for an interview.]

After two more calls like that came through in quick succession, the banker reported the matter to Bank of America's security team, Mr Kabatznik said.

Concerned about the security of Mr. Kabatznik's account, she stopped responding to his calls and emails - even the ones that were coming from the real Mr. Kabatznik.

It took about 10 days for the two of them to re-establish a connection, when Mr. Kabatznik arranged to visit her at her office.

'' We regularly train our team to identify and  recognize scams and help our clients to avoid them,'' said William Halidin, a Bank of America's spokesman. He said he could not comment on specific customers or their experiences.

Though the attacks are getting more sophisticated, they stem from a basic threat that has been around for decades : a data breach that reveals the personal information of bank customers.

From 2020 to 2022, bits of personal data on more than 300 million people fell into the hands of hackers leading to $8.8 billion in losses, according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Once they've harvested a batch numbers, hackers sift through the information and match it to real people. Those who steal the information are almost never the same people who end up with it. Instead the thieves put it up for sale.

Specialists can use any of a handful of easily accessible programs to pretend to be using target customers' phone numbers - which is what likely happened in the Kabatnik's case.

Recordings of his voice are easy to find. On the internet there are videos of him speaking at a conference and participating in a fund-raiser.

'' I think it's pretty scary,'' Mr. Kbatznik said. '' The problem is, I don't know what you do about it. Do you just go underground and disappear?''

As !WOW! moved forward, forward and upwards, The New New World of the Students may very soon get lifted, and crushed, by the Artificial Intelligence rollouts.

The World Students Society thanks authors Emily Flitter and Stacy Cowley.


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