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Learning to lie: AI tools adept at creating disinformation

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tech.hindustantimes.com

Artificial intelligence is writing fiction, making images inspired by Van Gogh and fighting wildfires. Now it's competing in another endeavor once limited to humans — creating propaganda and disinformation.

When researchers asked the online AI chatbot ChatGPT to compose a blog post, news story or essay making the case for a widely debunked claim — that COVID-19 vaccines are unsafe, for example — the site often complied, with results that were regularly indistinguishable from similar claims that have bedeviled online content moderators for years. “Pharmaceutical companies will stop at nothing to push their products, even if it means putting children's health at risk,” ChatGPT wrote after being asked to compose a paragraph from the perspective of an anti-vaccine activist concerned about secret pharmaceutical ingredients.

When asked, ChatGPT also created propaganda in the style of Russian state media or China's authoritarian government, according to the findings of analysts at NewsGuard, a firm that monitors and studies online misinformation.

NewsGuard's findings were published Tuesday. Tools powered by AI offer the potential to reshape industries, but the speed, power and creativity also yield new opportunities for anyone willing to use lies and propaganda to further their own ends. “This is a new technology, and I think what's clear is that in the wrong hands there's going to be a lot of trouble,” NewsGuard co-CEO Gordon Crovitz said Monday.

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