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An AI that writes convincing prose risks mass-producing fake news

MIT Technology Review – Fed with billions of words, this algorithm creates convincing articles and shows how AI could be used to fool people on a mass scale – “…The researchers set out to develop a general-purpose language algorithm, trained on a vast amount of text from the web, that would be capable of translating text, answering questions, and performing other useful tasks. But they soon grew concerned about the potential for abuse. “We started testing it, and quickly discovered it’s possible to generate malicious-esque content quite easily,” says Jack Clark, policy director at OpenAI. Clark says the program hints at how AI might be used to automate the generation of convincing fake news, social-media posts, or other text content. Such a tool could spew out climate-denying news reports or scandalous exposés during an election. Fake news is already a problem, but if it were automated, it might be harder to tune out. Perhaps it could be optimized for particular demographics—or even individuals…”

Clark says it may not be long before AI can reliably produce fake stories, bogus tweets, or duplicitous comments that are even more convincing. “It’s very clear that if this technology matures—and I’d give it one or two years—it could be used for disinformation or propaganda,” he says. “We’re trying to get ahead of this.”

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