To listen to some people, you’d think that society was at risk of falling into a “Dark Ages,” driven by AI being used for disinformation.
Without a doubt, disinformation is an issue that is now running through society, and AI can be enormously effective and creating and spreading that. However, what we shouldn’t lose sight of is the human role in monitoring and managing AI, because that is often where the gap is that’s facilitating the flow of bad information.
The benefits to society of embracing AI and many and manifold. Just some of the ways that AI is being used to create more informed and capable societies include:
These are just some of the ways where AI is helping to drive positive societal change by producing better quality information, analysis and insights, more efficiently and productively than would have been possible through human insight alone.
And yet there is a dark side to AI as well.
“The rise of AI fake news is creating a ‘misinformation superspreader’” wrote The Washington Post late last year, noting that websites hosting AI-created false articles had increased by more than 1,000 per cent.
“AI is making it easy for nearly anyone — whether they are part of a spy agency or just a teenager in their basement — to create these outlets, producing content that is at times hard to differentiate from real news,” the article reports.
This is, without a doubt, a problem. As noted by an AI expert, Wasim Khaled, in a CNET feature, AI could erode trust and our “shared sense of reality.” If we reach the point where we don’t feel like we can trust any information, or allow ourselves to be “educated” by false information, the collective ability of society to share ideas, communicate, and solve problems is undermined.
That could in turn see us experience a cultural decline. Just as the Catholic Church was allegedly a catalyst for the medieval Dark Ages by dominating the knowledge of communities in line with its political and spiritual ideology, so too may our society’s collective intellect become subservient to propagandists pushing falsehoods.
This can manifest itself in many ways, from undermining the character of a politician (eg: when an image of an Australian politician was altered to give her a bared midriff and larger breasts), right through to supporting the grandest of conspiracy theories (as noted by Vice, the next Qanon, society-disrupting conspiracy theory could be entirely the work of AI). The result, across all of our communities, will be less well-informed and educated people, greater incidences of extremism breaking down cohesion, and a constant burying of the truth.
But is AI the responsible party here, and are we willing to trade the potential benefits of AI – including in areas that we haven’t even considered yet – in an effort to clamp down and minimise the use of AI in deception?
The answer is no. AI may well herald in a Dark Ages, but preventing that comes down to how humans shepherd the technology. If we do it well, we will have a second enlightenment instead.
Most of us want to use AI responsibly and in service of human progress. In doing so, we need to come together collectively to be stewards of good information and actively combat misinformation and deep fakes.
Some of the steps that we can all take – as both organisations and individuals – are:
Unfortunately, a lot of the discourse around disinformation and deep fakes in AI is driven by people who have an agenda to put a halt to AI in its entirety. Or, to be blunt – it’s people concerned about what AI might do to their professional jobs as journalists, lawyers, educators and politicians.
As a result, a lot of that information being shared is, ironically, misinformation itself.
There is a clear risk that AI can be leveraged in ways that will be a net negative to society, and spreading disinformation and propaganda can have a meaningful negative impact to everything – from the politicians that we elect, to the information that we get out of conflict zones, when good quality information is critical.
However, by building better processes to govern how AI is used in the production and oversight of information, we can instead improve the quality of information.
It just requires humans to understand our ongoing and integral role of proper oversight into the information being generated through these systems.
Over 26–29 September, businesses from around the world descended on Las Vegas to attend Oracle NetSuite’s SuiteWorld 2022. As the largest annual gathering of the NetSuite community, it showcased fantastic people, ideas and – most importantly – new technologies.Read More
The geographic isolation of Australia commercially, especially compared to the United States or the European Union, is a challenge that all Australian manufacturers must contend with. The solution is setting up multiple facilities around the world to more easily reach customers, but this brings with it a new problem:...Read More
No matter the size of your business or the industry in which you operate, payroll is the biggest expense and liability to your organisation. A single payment mistake could put yourself – and your business – at risk, which is why an end-to-end payroll system is the answer.Read More
We’re here to listen and to solve your problems then help you to digitalise your business. Let’s talk.