Analog Steganography

So here’s a fun one. A friend’s been researching steganography, the art of hiding a message within another artifact to avoid detection. It made a great LLM proof-of-concept. This short video demonstrates the output of a day’s worth of pair programming with gpt-4: I encoded a short message* into a sample audio file in Morse code, at 14,000Hz (near or past the upper bounds of hearing, depending on your age). I played it over my MacBook speakers and recorded it via an iPhone’s built-in mic. Played back into the MacBook’s mic and passed through a Morse decoder, the inaudible encoded message is successfully decoded — surviving a digital-to-analog-to-digital conversion.

(Forgive the message, ‘PAUL IS DEAD,’ referencing an old Beatles urban legend about playing the White Album backwards and hearing a secret message. It just seemed appropriate.)

This proof-of-concept was inspired by my dear friend Or Zubalsky, whose art lives at the nexus of code and political action: