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AI Tools for Mass Manipulation?

Machine learning can unleash a perfect storm of malice, experts warn

 Claims about AI taking over the world are sci-fi, even if prominent people make them. But it is not fiction that people can use machine learning (not really AI) to do some new and seriously malicious things. In 2017, a group of 26 AI researchers got together at Oxford and created a report which offers a number of examples of malicious technologies of the near future. Some explanations have been added [as follows] :

Human-like denial-of-service. Imitating human-like behavior (e.g. through human-speed click patterns and website navigation), a massive crowd of autonomous agents overwhelms an online service, preventing access from legitimate users and potentially driving the target system into a less secure state. [In short the people operating the service do not realize that it is a hack because it has been cleverly designed to seem like an abnormally high call volume of actual users.]

Fake news reports with realistic fabricated video and audio. Highly realistic videos are made of state leaders seeming to make inflammatory comments they never actually made. [The media today are full of disputed charges about “fake news,” but this will be authentic fake news, so to speak.]

Automating influence campaigns. AI-enabled analysis of social networks are leveraged to identify key influencers, who can then be approached with (malicious) offers or targeted with disinformation. [Not only will key influencers be spreading false or questionable information that they had no idea was such, but doing so will affect their reputations, creating confusion in target communities about who to believe.]  Future of Humanity Institute (FHI), Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER), Centre for the Future of Intelligence (CFI), “The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence: Forecasting, Prevention, and Mitigation

No doubt we will fight back by developing ways of exposing the manipulators. But we need to start by knowing basic facts about how they work. The report is free to read or download.

Colossus: The Forbin Project Poster Culture note: The idea of AI itself rising up and taking over the world long predates the advent of computers in everyday life. One classic is a 1970 film, Colossus: The Forbin Project:

Thinking this will prevent war, the US government gives an impenetrable supercomputer total control over launching nuclear missiles. But what the computer does with the power is unimaginable to its creators.

The film was based on a 1966 novel by D. F. Jones (1918–1981). Here’s a clip from the film’s ending.

Hat tip: Pos-darwinista

See also: AI machines taking over the world? It’s a Cool apocalypse but does that make it more likely?


Welcome to Russia’s amazing troll farm. Now flee! (an apparent early attempt to create fake news.)


AI Tools for Mass Manipulation?