The role of artificial intelligence in disinformation

Paper by Noémi Bontridder and Yves Poullet: “Artificial intelligence (AI) systems are playing an overarching role in the disinformation phenomenon our world is currently facing. Such systems boost the problem not only by increasing opportunities to create realistic AI-generated fake content, but also, and essentially, by facilitating the dissemination of disinformation to a targeted audience and at scale by malicious stakeholders. This situation entails multiple ethical and human rights concerns, in particular regarding human dignity, autonomy, democracy, and peace. In reaction, other AI systems are developed to detect and moderate disinformation online. Such systems do not escape from ethical and human rights concerns either, especially regarding freedom of expression and information. Having originally started with ascending co-regulation, the European Union (EU) is now heading toward descending co-regulation of the phenomenon. In particular, the Digital Services Act proposal provides for transparency obligations and external audit for very large online platforms’ recommender systems and content moderation. While with this proposal, the Commission focusses on the regulation of content considered as problematic, the EU Parliament and the EU Council call for enhancing access to trustworthy content. In light of our study, we stress that the disinformation problem is mainly caused by the business model of the web that is based on advertising revenues, and that adapting this model would reduce the problem considerably. We also observe that while AI systems are inappropriate to moderate disinformation content online, and even to detect such content, they may be more appropriate to counter the manipulation of the digital ecosystem….(More)”.