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This Disinformation Is Just for You

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Hany Farid, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, says purveyors of disinformation will try all sorts of tactics until they find what works best for them.

Credit: Getty Images

It's now well understood that generative AI will increase the spread of disinformation on the internet. From deepfakes to fake news articles to bots, AI will generate not only more disinformation, but more convincing disinformation. But what people are only starting to understand is how disinformation will become more targeted and better able to engage with people and sway their opinions.

When Russia tried to influence the 2016 US presidential election via the now disbanded Internet Research Agency, the operation was run by humans who often had little cultural fluency or even fluency in the English language and so were not always able to relate to the groups they were targeting. With generative AI tools, those waging disinformation campaigns will be able to finely tune their approach by profiling individuals and groups. These operatives can produce content that seems legitimate and relatable to the people on the other end and even target individuals with personalized disinformation based on data they've collected. Generative AI will also make it much easier to produce disinformation and will thus increase the amount of disinformation that's freely flowing on the internet, experts say.

"Generative AI lowers the financial barrier for creating content that's tailored to certain audiences," says Kate Starbird, an associate professor in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Washington. "You can tailor it to audiences and make sure the narrative hits on the values and beliefs of those audiences, as well as the strategic part of the narrative."

From Wired
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