The role of artificial intelligence in disinformation and stopping it.
Artificial Intelligence, short for AI, is the hallmark of the modern era. Basically, AI refers to the imitation and replication of human patterns of intelligence. Despite being around for some time now, artificial intelligence remains relatively mysterious for a lot of people.
From their choice of food to their music taste to their political affiliations, the individual and collective human intelligence have become quite decipherable for modern science. Integrate this knowledge of human behavior with machine learning and voilà! You can basically depict, mimic, predict, and control human behavior.
However, neither the development nor the use of AI has been steady or simple. Like every other technology, AI does face the threat of going overboard with its innovative features.
Take chess, for example. AI has been able to assess every single human move in the game over the last few centuries. With this data, an automated AI chess player can break into the human mind to see how it analyzes the next move. Al doesn’t memorize the millions of moves from every game of chess; it comes up with its own moves.
The reason why AI stands out so distinctively is that it breaks through the conventional stereotypes of modern-day technology. More than just being of practical use, AI can manipulate human behavior on a wide scale. Unlike cellphones or space missiles, AI captures the very core of human personalities. And just like all technology, AI, too, can be abused for ulterior motives.
Cutting through the noise of social media and figuring out what’s true and false can be tough. These steps can make it easier.
AI influences the advertisements we see on social media, the accounts that pop up in our suggestions, and even the political opinions that we’re exposed to. AI knows precisely how to convince us in favor of, or against, certain beliefs. The handling of these algorithms, therefore, is a responsibility of utmost importance.
The larger the database that an AI system gathers, the more capable it is to influence several million people’s decision-making. On both individual and collective levels, those who benefit from AI information are at a great advantage of throwing caution to the wind. Then, it may be an online squabble with a stranger or your ideas on the national budget. AI can gain access to and influence every aspect of life.
The coronavirus pandemic has been humankind’s first opportunity to test the effects and uses of AI during times of mass panic. With millions of infected and the death toll reaching thousands per day, things haven’t been exactly easy to manage.
With the fear, presumptions, and rampant rumors, there have been many instances where AI-fueled the spread of controversies and debates. Since most of the world was in lockdown, the Internet was the primary source of facts and discussions all over the globe.
Politicians, scientists, economists, and pharmacists had a consistently difficult times trying to spread as many facts as possible. The reason is that AI has been steadily taken over the Internet to figure out what we should see on our feeds. From trolling bot accounts and the regulation and prioritization of certain hashtags to automation of manual decisions, there has been a lot that AI changed.
The general election, particularly in a democracy, is another hotspot for AI activity. People love talking about power. And even if the power doesn’t reside with them, the thrill of national debates and scandals never seems to die down.
AI, in this sense, is a great stakeholder. It has been used to alter pictures and videos. It has identified what trends need to be promoted, and which ones need to be sidelined. With the ability to outsmart human intelligence, AI can shift bias and therefore entirely turn the tables on election results. We’ve seen a lot of tech intervention in conventional politics, but the fusion of AI with human power play is perhaps the most dangerous step.
When discussing the uses and abuses of AI, we can’t possibly ignore the global political arena. The war on terror, scandalous leaks of classified data, and the restrictions on the free press are some of the many places where AI has a huge role in spreading misinformation.
Prior to this technology, television was a medium of mass communication and manipulation. However, the AI is much more recent and already several steps ahead from all previous technologies. AI can help the global tech and industrial giants to reach their audience and grow their customer database.
The full and complete access to private individual data helps to amass information regarding a certain social fabric. This insight into individual and collective life paves the way for constructing scenarios that can make massive shifts in global consumption patterns of news and material.
From boycotting brands to bashing politicians and even hiding genocides, there’s no doubt that AI is a tool of the powerful.
AI shows people what they wish to see, when they want to see it, and how they wish to see it. When there’s an overload of audiovisual information all around us, it’s easy to get carried away without a second thought.
It’s always necessary to have alternate sources of information. Whether it’s from books or real-life experience, you should always look for the loopholes in the apparently complete picture. It’s easy for AI to spread manipulative facts and figures, but it’s more difficult to manipulate a sound mind.
The influence of AI and machine learning is only as successful as you allow it to be. Keep your data private, always check the source of information, and open your mind to multiple points of view. The truth may be harsh, but it is never an illusion.
Despite the obvious ruckus that AI can create, it’s unlikely that humans will wrap up this venture anytime soon. The only way to avoid being an easily fooled sheep is to not trust AI more than necessary. There world out there is pretty real and alive in millions of colors. Do not let AI tint them all into one shade, just to aid your ignorance.