Washington has developed an artificial intelligence-based system to detect and gather ‘Russian’ disinformation online, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed on Tuesday at the Freedom House 2023 Annual Awards Ceremony.
The State Department has created “an AI-enabled online Ukraine Content Aggregator to collect verifiable Russian disinformation and then to share that with partners around the world,” the US top diplomat said.
The government is cooperating with scholars to be able to “reliably detect fake text generated by Russian chatbots,” he added.
Last year, social media analytics company Graphika and the Stanford Internet Observatory said hundreds of accounts disseminating pro-Western narratives over the past five were likely being run by the Pentagon’s Centcom unit. In March, news website The Intercept reported on federal contract documents, which suggest that the US Special Operations Command is planning to conduct propaganda and deception campaigns online using deepfake technology.
Last month, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused the US of waging “an unprecedented information campaign” against Russia since the start of the conflict in Ukraine. Washington and its allies “need war at any cost, and their favorite method of solving their own problems is provocations, disinformation and threats,” Zakharova argued.
Speaking about artificial intelligence in general, Blinken warned that the technology can 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 said.
Since the release of the artificial intelligence bot ChatGPT last November, the debate over the dangers posed by AI has intensified in the industry and in academic circles. Geoffrey Hinton, who is known as one of the ‘godfathers’ of AI, warned last week that the technology could present a “more urgent” threat than climate change.
In March, several tech industry leaders, including Elon Musk, co-signed an open letter, urging a six-month pause in the development of AI technology more powerful than ChatGPT, and the appointment of an independent regulator to provide oversight in the field.