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The spread of false information aided by AI is an existential threat
By Harvey Dzodin  |  Jun 05, 2023
The spread of false information aided by AI is an existential threat
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The spread of disinformation in recent years, aided in part by AI algorithms, has eroded trust and threatened to upend society. As AI technology improves and gets closer to achieving artificial general intelligence (AGI), this threat will continue to grow.

VIENNA - The road to hell is paved with good intentions. As one watches tech companies falling all over each other to develop generative artificial intelligence (GenAI), clearly neither they nor most governments yet realize the parallels with the discovery of the use of fire in the stone age: Like fire, artificial intelligence (AI) can also be a source of both human comfort and destruction.

No wonder, then, that Geoffrey Hinton, the ‘godfather of AI,’ recently resigned from Google - he feared that, left unregulated, the very same technology he spent a lifetime developing was now out of control. His immediate concern is that the internet will become ever more flooded with false photos, videos, and texts, and worse, so much so that the average person will no longer be able to tell what is true and what is not. 

For the longer term, his fear is that computers might achieve artificial general intelligence (AGI) within the next 20 years. AGI is essentially AI on steroids: It refers to the ability of computers to understand or learn any intellectual task that a human can, be able to solve any problem, and to think independently based on their capacity to learn, which is nearly infinite.

Turkey got a taste of this in its recent elections, when deepfakes appeared and may have been partially responsible for the closeness of the election - which went to a runoff since no candidate received an absolute majority in the first round. Prior to that, in 2016 and 2020 disinformation helped pervert the presidential elections in the United States and gutted public trust in media. Only several weeks ago did US President Joe Biden start to act. Biden’s first comment to technology executives with whom he met was, “What you are doing has enormous potential and enormous danger.” Biden is right - but tackling this problem will take time, of which there is not enough.

The most disturbing thing is that fake news and informati

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