The use of artificial intelligence (AI) to facilitate various tasks has been ubiquitous across almost every sector in the world. AI technology has replaced some of the mundane and repetitive tasks, sped up the processes, and transformed processes. Though it is not possible to replace humans till now, but research and development activities in AI has gained a lot of momentum. AI has been used on social media platforms to provide personalized experience and eliminate fake news. It helps in prevention of spread of fake news, which has influenced election outcomes in the U.S. presidential elections in 2016. As AI can be used for prevention, it can also be used to spread fake news. Bad actors who gained expertise in AI technology have been using it to spread fake news across various platforms. An AI consultant to CIA believes it will get worse.
Sean Gourley is a founder and CEO of Primer, a firm that mines data sources and generates reports for the CIA and other clients. He outlined that the next generation of fake news will be far more complicated and difficult to counter as they will be circulated with the help of AI. Speaking at the EmTech Digital conference organized by MIT Technology Review in San Francisco, Gourley said, “The automation of the generation of fake news is going to make it very effective.”
His remarks send a wave of worry among social media companies, which are used majorly to spread the fake news. The 2016 U.S. presidential election was marred by the fake news, which reached millions of citizens months before the elections. Facebook CEO outlined that the firm will use AI to determine fake news and eliminate from the platform. However, Gourley expressed that the same could be used to create fake news. Primer’s technology can be used to create millions of fake stories based on personal interests and sympathies of users. In addition, they will be carefully tested before circulation to optimize the impact. Gourley said, “I can generate a million stories, see which ones get the most traction, double down on those.”
The stories posted as fake news have been simple till now. Imaginative and hand-crafted stories have been shared on social media on regular basis. The extensive understanding of network dynamics and mechanisms to determine prominence of content can be used to maximize the effect of the post. The profound effect of fake news is widely known.
“Where you inject information is going to have a massive impact on how it spreads and diffuses,” Gourley said at the conference. “All we’ve seen at the moment is primitive, and it’s had a profound impact, and more is coming.”
Bad actors have started sharing fake news through a video format. An existing video and audio is searched, and AI technology is used to create a new version of the video. Hate messages and violence enticing speeches are spread through these videos. Hours of video footage are used to create a new video by synchronizing lip movements to the speech. As bad actors try to create a chaos and pose national security risks, citizens need to use their conscience to determine what they see is true or another fake news.