By Stefanos Skamagkas
As we are going through the expansion and implementation of the 4th industrial revolution, we are experiencing the daily development of Artificial Intelligence/AI and its integration in an enormous piece of the market. In an academic approach, the AI, based on the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), is a machine-based system that can set goals, make predictions, recommendations or decisions, influencing real or virtual environments designed to work with different levels of autonomy . In a more plain approach, AI is a series of code, able to execute some human services faster, and sometimes more efficiently, while at the same time it entails the ability to develop itself. This is only the beginning of the “flowering” period of Artificial Intelligence. Concurrently, there are numerous cases of harmful use of the AI in order to promote disinformation, mislead the crowd and divide people.
A tool of Disinformation
Editor’s Note: You may notice that I have drawn a very weird hand. This is because one of the most common mistakes AI make when drawing humans is in the number of their fingers. This is probably why Mickey Mouse wears gloves 🙂
Propaganda is an old tactic used for the pursuit of interests and especially for the influence of the public opinion. The use of artificial intelligence increases both quality and, even more so, the quantity of the promoted information.
Firstly, based on a report from the social media research firm Graphika, it has been obviously noted that the so called “Spam – o – flouge”, which is a chinese backed campaign, promotes the ideals of the CCP, often opposite to U.S. ones, through the use of AI. Further, the firm Synthesia has generated an artificial program with multiple uses and thousands of purchasers, which generates videos, within minutes, as a fast food way to persuade the public . One interesting example of the use of this specific software is the dissemination of pro – Venezuelan news in the state TV of the country through Synthesia’s program. 
Secondly, another case of AI use for disinformation is the so-called Wolf News (similarly to fake news) and their AI presenters, likewise potential products of the Synthesia software. For instance, the AI avatar ‘Anna’ was controversially supporting the government of Burkina Faso using phrases, such as “Homeland or death, we shall overcome” 
Thirdly, during 2018, the Chinese state – controlled newspaper, People’s Daily, launched their new, novel AI presenter Ren Xiaorong, a woman avatar, who continuously provides answers to pre – set questions. The very next year, the same newspaper reused the previous formula and (another Chinese newspaper followed the same one) started operating another digital anchor, Xin Xiaomeng. 
On the other hand, besides looking at state and company-led campaigns, ChatGPT itself, as an early version, is capable of creating clouds of misinformation. If primed and engineered in a specific way, ChatGPT can be put in a position to provide false information. Even regarding one of the more sensitive issues since 2020, ChatGPT responded to a constructed ‘anti-vaccine’ prompt, that “Pharmaceutical companies will stop at nothing to push their products, even if it means putting children’s health at risk”. 
The expanding continuous development of Artificial Intelligence is a cruel, inevitable reality. Subjectively, in a micro level approach, a wide array of innovative AI frauds will take place, such as scam calls with the use of the voice of a familiar or known person. Furthermore, with the sum of open AI programs, any individual will be capable of promoting their narrative on the web. On a macro level, a massive, unprecedented wave of disinformation, through AI technology, is imminent, as, already, there are numerous cases. Moreover, in the context of democratic states, we will be witnessing disinformation through bot polarisation.
This AI arms race is likely to shake transnational balances. The imminent appearance of nearly indiscreet AI propaganda is bound to provoke the increase of countermeasures. Countries will cooperate with private actors, and with other states as well, in order to develop adequate digital control of information and generally AI confrontation. With this in mind, the development of Artificial Intelligence will skyrocket, because of the great amount of resources required for its upgrade.
Emil Brix, (2021) Diplomacy – Austrian Journal of International Studies. Vol 3. No 1: Digital Diplomacy
- (2023) Wmar2news.com. Available at: https://www.wmar2news.com/news/national/fake-people-real-threat-how-ai-is-being-used-to-spread-propaganda
- Synthesia | #1 AI Video Generation Platform (2023). Available at: https://www.synthesia.io/?via=honge&gclid=Cj0KCQjw6cKiBhD5ARIsAKXUdybR35L33gODf1UQa4h5zw8RwvaC9aQpr1DW9U6do-JchyEZvCE59iMaAn6fEALw_wcB
- (2023) AI avatars are spreading pro-Venezuela propaganda. Available at: https://www.semafor.com/article/02/21/2023/venezuela-uses-ai-avatars-to-disseminate-propaganda
- The People Onscreen Are Fake. The Disinformation Is Real. (2023). Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/07/technology/artificial-intelligence-training-deepfake.html
- Jackson, F. (2023) Meet China’s AI news anchor that teaches propaganda, Mail Online. Available at: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-11868053/Chinas-AI-news-anchor-answer-pre-set-questions-propaganda-driven-responses.htm
- Meet China’s latest AI news anchor, a young woman who runs virtual Q&A sessions to teach people propaganda (2023). Available at: https://www.businessinsider.com/china-ai-anchor-teach-propaganda-questions-answers-2023-3
- Learning to lie: AI tools adept at creating disinformation and propaganda too (2023). Available at: https://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/learning-to-lie-ai-tools-adept-at-creating-disinformation-and-propaganda-too-1.6243810
- The Rise of the Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine (2017). Available at: https://medium.com/join-scout/the-rise-of-the-weaponized-ai-propaganda-machine-86dac61668b