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They deepfaked my husband: TV tech guru Lara Lewington on the day her other half, money-saving expert Martin Lewis, fell victim to a disturbing AI hoax
- Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis, from London, was a victim of deepfaking
- READ MORE: The REAL key to staying young? Forget pills and potions, says Lara
Lara Lewington may be half of a British TV power couple and a fixture on our screens for 20 years, but you still may not know her name. Her husband is financial guru Martin Lewis, but Lara is determined not to capitalise on her marriage to up her profile.
And who can blame her? While Martin has become the nation’s go-to guru for everything from mortgage advice to the weekly shop, Lara is an expert in her own right, in technology.
She’s been on the BBC’s tech series Click since 2011, and was promoted to co-presenter in 2018. Before that she was a weathergirl and showbiz presenter after starting out as a lowly runner on It’s A Knockout.
‘That was the most amazing first job in telly,’ she says, ‘I might have been running around in a chicken costume or in charge of looking after Frank Bruno and Keith Chegwin.’
Now she’s popping up all over the place, presenting segments on The One Show and Radio 4, ramping up her reputation as an expert on the hot topic of artificial intelligence (AI).
Lara Lewington revealed how her husband, Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis, from London, was a victim of deepfaking
Last month she fronted Panorama’s Beyond Human: Artificial Intelligence And Us, and this month she’ll join Lorraine Kelly’s ITV daytime show as a regular contributor on AI.
During lockdown she took an online course in Ethics of AI with the London School of Economics. ‘Other people were learning to bake and knit, both of which I would have been useless at, so I did that instead,’ says Lara, 44. ‘I was determined to start making some content on AI.’
Our chat touches on everything AI, from dating apps (it’s already being used to match couples), how good it is at writing TV scripts (not very) and the ethics (‘Just because AI can do things, should we let it?’).
‘As soon as ChatGPT emerged, AI hit the mainstream,’ she says. ‘It created an emotive response in people, because they could interact with AI themselves.’
Launched last November, ChatGPT can answer questions, compose speeches and music, and write essays, causing much consternation in educational circles. ‘That was the turning point,’ says Lara.
‘Instead of it being me and my colleagues geeking out about AI, everyone’s talking about it.’
So should we be scared of AI? ‘It’s not about robots killing us like some sci-fi movie, it’s about us regulating the limits of what AI can do. There are always going to be bad people who will use things wrongly.’
Such as deepfake videos in which AI re-creates people.
Her husband was a victim in July – a scarily realistic advert had Martin appearing to promote an app associated with Tesla and X owner Elon Musk, but he had nothing to do with it. Lara wasn’t fooled. ‘What’s very difficult is to get the hair right.’
Lara and Martin live in London with their daughter Sapphire, born in 2012. The founder of the Money Saving Expert website cheekily refers to his wife as ‘Mrs MSE’.
‘During lockdown we had to make our shows from home. Upstairs I had my BBC set for Click, and downstairs he did his ITV show. On a Thursday I’d be floor manager for him. That was fun, until I knocked something over very loudly while live on air!’
Lara may be half of a British TV power couple and a fixture on our screens for 20 years, but you still may not know her name. Pictured: Lara with robots at a science fair
Today Lara is wearing two smart watches and an activity tracking ring – monitoring her heart rate, sleep patterns, blood pressure and blood sugar – and says she loves testing these gadgets.
Earlier this year she filmed a Click special called Forever Young? with the US tech billionaire Bryan Johnson, who follows a bizarre health regime in a bid to reverse his biological age.
This includes popping a staggering 111 pills a day and injecting himself with his son’s blood plasma. ‘I wanted to be like him!’ says Lara. ‘He looked so vibrant, the whites of his eyes were shining.’
Lara also had her own ‘real age’ determined and passed most tests. ‘There was one where the expert said I was too old for my age. He said, “You could make lifestyle changes.”
‘What can I do? I run 5km most days, I barely eat sugar, I don’t drink alcohol, I’ve never tried a cigarette. What kind of lifestyle changes are there, short of living like Bryan Johnson?’
Maybe AI can answer that.
- Lorraine is on weekdays at 9am on ITV1. Panorama – Beyond Human: Artificial Intelligence And Us is available on BBC iPlayer.
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