US developed AI tool to battle ‘Russian disinformation’ – Blinken

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday at the Freedom House 2023 Annual Awards Ceremony that Washington has built an artificial intelligence-based system to detect and gather ‘Russian’ disinformation online.

The State Department has developed “an AI-enabled online Ukraine Content Aggregator to collect verifiable Russian disinformation and then share that with partners around the world,” according to the US’s top diplomat.

The administration is working with academics to “reliably detect fake text generated by Russian chatbots,” he said.

Last year, social media analytics firm Graphika and the Stanford Internet Observatory reported that hundreds of accounts spreading pro-Western narratives over the previous five years were most likely managed by the Pentagon’s Centcom unit. The Intercept published in March on government contract documents indicating that the US Special Operations Command intends to launch internet propaganda and deception campaigns utilising deepfake technology.

Last month, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, accused the United States of conducting a “unprecedented information campaign” against Russia since the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis. Washington and its allies “need war at any cost, and their favourite method of solving their own problems is provocations, disinformation, and threats,” Zakharova contended.

In general, Blinken warned that artificial intelligence could backfire and “amplify discrimination and enable abuses.”

“It also runs the risk of strengthening autocratic governments, including by enabling them to exploit social media even more effectively to manipulate their people and sow division among and within their adversaries,” he added.

Since the November release of the artificial intelligence bot ChatGPT, the debate about the perils of AI has heated up in the corporate and academic circles. Geoffrey Hinton, known as one of the ‘godfathers’ of AI, cautioned last week that the technology might pose a “more urgent” threat than climate change.