Tuesday, 05 September 2023 04:47

Developer builds 'propaganda machine' using OpenAI tech to highlight dangers of mass-produced AI disinformation

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A developer has built an AI "disinformation machine" using OpenAI-powered technology like ChatGPT.

The project, named CounterCloud, took its creator two months to complete and cost less than $400 a month to operate, highlighting how cheap and simple it can be to create mass propaganda.

The creator, who chose to remain anonymous, used the name Nea Paw and claimed to be a cybersecurity professional, Wired reported.

In a video posted on YouTube, Paw described how the project was carried out and why they were doing it.

They said they wanted to see AI disinformation "work in the real world," adding that "strong language competencies of large language models are perfectly suited to reading and writing fake news articles."

Paw said they started by inputting "opposing" articles into ChatGPT and writing prompts instructing it to write a counter article.

The AI bot would then offer different examples of the same article, written in different styles and with different viewpoints.

They said it would do this by "creating fake stories, fake historical events, and creating doubt in the accuracy of the original article."

A gatekeeper module was then added so that the AI would only respond to the most relevant content, while audio clips of newsreaders reading the fake AI-generated articles and photos were added to create authenticity.

They also created fake journalist profiles and fake comments below some articles.

The system was then told to like and repost messages that aligned with its narrative or write "counter" tweets to those that didn't.

In two months they had a fully autonomous AI-powered system that generated "convincing content 90% of the time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

The creators haven't yet set the model live on the internet, as "it would mean actively pushing out disinformation and propaganda. Once the genie is out on the internet, there is no knowing where it would end up," Paw said.

But they added that they thought more good would come from publishing CounterCloud and educating the public about how these systems work from the inside.

The threat AI poses to democracy through its ability to accelerate the creation and spread of online disinformation has been one of the biggest concerns in the AI debate.

CEO of OpenAI, Sam Altman, recently voiced his concern about the issue, saying that "personalized 1:1 persuasion, combined with high-quality generated media, is going to be a powerful force."


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