Persuasive Machines: Weapons of Mass Disinformation
On July 28th, 2015 a group of AI scientists published an open letter concerning the creation of weaponized AI.
This open letter was announced July 28 at the opening of the IJCAI 2015 conference on July 28.futureoflife.org
They write the following:
The key question for humanity today is whether to start a global AI arms race or to prevent it from starting. If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow. Unlike nuclear weapons, they require no costly or hard-to-obtain raw materials, so they will become ubiquitous and cheap for all significant military powers to mass-produce. It will only be a matter of time until they appear on the black market and in the hands of terrorists, dictators wishing to better control their populace, warlords wishing to perpetrate ethnic cleansing, etc. Autonomous weapons are ideal for tasks such as assassinations, destabilizing nations, subduing populations and selectively killing a particular ethnic group.
Which lead to some research:
Abstract: Rapid progress in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) has brought increasing to the…arxiv.org
Unfortunately, by November 2016 a different kind of weaponized AI had arrived with devastating effects:
An illustrated guide to empathy in the age of Facebookmedium.com
This contact is important in the context of our social channels. They are designed to let us insulate ourselves from the people and opinions we would prefer not to see.
What is this? Recent posts from sources where the majority of shared articles aligned "very liberal" (blue, on the left…graphics.wsj.com
Facebook’s role in providing Americans with political news has never been stronger — or more controversial. Scholars worry that the social network can create “echo chambers,” where users see posts only from like-minded friends and media sources.
These “filter bubbles” or “echo chambers” are primed staging areas for further exploitation. Persuasive Machines are AI driven automation, leveraging knowledge of our cognitive biases:
Although the reality of these biases is confirmed by replicable research, there are often controversies about how to…en.wikipedia.org
to hack into our thought processes, leading to persuasion (or alternatively mind control). A example of this exploit is the rampant rise of fake news and events on Facebook. Mike Caulfied write “Despite Zuckerberg’s Protests, Fake News Does Better on Facebook Than Real News. Here’s Data to Prove It.”:
Fake news is orders of magnitude more popular than real news. It is not just fake news that’s a problem, security breaches are another. Maria Krolov writes:
“It’s a combination of a lot of things that we’ve seen for a lot of years coming together,” said Ric Messier, head of the cybersecurity program at Burlington, Vt.,-based Champlain College. “The fact that it’s so easy to do this leaking and be able to manipulate people in this way certainly suggests that we’re probably just starting to see the beginning of these sorts of activities or attacks.”
Automation in the form of Twitter bots have amplified messaging to bring about a ‘bandwagon effect’ to influence the masses:
The day before the election, as millions of Americans were feeling confident that the vast majority of the country…www.fastcodesign.com
Analyzing Twitter during three televised debates, they discovered that 20% of all political tweets were made by bots. … These bots, they wrote, can make online conversations more polarized. They make it easier to spread factually incorrect news stories. And they are easy to make: Nearly anyone “could obtain the operational capabilities and technical tools to deploy armies of social bots and affect the directions of online political conversation.”
These automaton, in combination with massive hacking and phishing attacks by a nation state were part of a coordinate effort to undermine the decision making of the population. Esquire magazine has an even more detailed account of this in “How Russian Pulled the Greatest Election Hack in History”.
Jonathan Albright has an even more detail analysis of what he calls: “Micro Propaganda Machines”:
There’s a vast network of dubious “news” sites. Most are simple in design, and many appear to be made from the same web templates. These sites have created an ecosystem of real-time propaganda: they include “viral” hoax engines that can instantly shape public opinion through mass “reaction” to serious political topics and news events. This network is triggered on-demand to spread false, hyper-biased, and politically-loaded information.
Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) understands the power of persuasion quite well:
“I’m healthy, single, rich, and totally free to do what I want, whenever I want. My personal life is extraordinary.” So…www.slate.com
Adams, like Trump, recognized that the election would play out at the limbic level of primal furies and genital anxieties.
Dylan Love writes about solutions to solving the AI arms race in “The Next Global Arms Race Aims to Perfect AI”:
- Make AI development illegal, but history suggests that prohibition doesn’t work.
- Win the AI race.
- Assemble an international AI consortium, with many nations pooling their resources.
- Every nation unites under one flag and one leadership.
Not a very promising list of options.
https://www.wired.com/2016/09/inside-googles-internet-justice-league-ai-powered-war-trolls Inside Google’s Internet Justice League and its AI Powered War on Trolls
http://kioski.yle.fi/omat/at-the-origins-of-russian-propaganda Yle Kioski Traces the Origins of Russian Social Media Propaganda — Never-before-seen Material from the Troll Factory
https://arxiv.org/abs/1603.07954 Improving Information Extraction by Acquiring External Evidence with Reinforcement Learning
Assessing the Reliability of Data
The use of bots remains broadly misunderstood but the data points to undeniable tandem pushes of disinformation on both…www.byline.com
One of the results of my recent post-election “news ecosystem” effort was the presence of YouTube. Beyond YouTube’s…medium.com
National Academy of Scienceswww.pnas.org
As news about "fake news" reaches a fever pitch, all the noise is drowning out what I think is a much greater threat…www.businessinsider.com
The human mind is a delicate thing. We like to think that we're logical, reasonable, and objective in our decision…www.forbes.com
The secretive ride-hailing giant Uber rarely discusses internal matters in public. But in March, facing crises on…www.nytimes.com