A lot has changed since technology took over the world. Back then, not everyone had access to these sophisticated gadgets because they are far too expensive and only the rich can afford it. But with the mass production of these things, even the masses can now afford to buy one without spending a fortune.
We have access to news, information, ideas, opinions and virtual presentation of everything that happens around the world in our finger tips. The present generation has access to these probably more than most of the past generations put together.
The challenge is to differentiate between truth from falsehood. All that we see and hear and experience not necessarily reflect the truth or the reality.
During the run-up to the 2016 US presidential election, we were treated to headlines such as “Hillary Clinton sold weapons to ISIS” and “Pope Francis endorsed Donald Trump for President”. Both were completely untrue.
But they were just two examples of a tsunami of attention-grabbing, false stories that flooded social media and the internet. Many such headlines were simply trying to drive traffic to websites for the purpose of earning advertising dollars. Others though, seemed part of a concerted attempt to sway public opinion in favor of one presidential candidate or the other.
Social Media was filled with the so-called “fake news”. A study conducted by news website BuzzFeed revealed that fake news travelled faster and further during the US election campaign.
The 20 top-performing false election stories generated 8,711,000 shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook, whereas the 20 best-performing election stories from 19 reputable news websites generated 7,367,000 shares, reactions and comments.
The 2020 election season is upon us, with historical importance for the United States and the world. People are concerned that the 2016 election cycle related fake news strategy used by people to favor Trump and discredit Hillary Clinton should not be repeated and all steps need to be taken to prevent fake news reaching the public.
Facebook, Twitter Inc. and Google parent Alphabet Inc. are discovering the harsh reality that disinformation and hate speech are even more challenging in emerging markets than in places like the U.S. or Europe.
India with as many as 900 million voters in the recently concluded election that culminated with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling coalition returned to an unprecedented victory, the Social Media giants, Facebook Inc. to Google, had made huge efforts with Facebook hiring contractors to verify content in 10 of the country’s 23 official languages.
There are more technological advances in creating and circulating fake news today than ever before. Recently, I came across a report by BBC, “Dangerous AI offers to write fake news.”
The writer suggested that Artificial Intelligence (AI) system has been found to be able to “generates realistic stories, poems and articles has been updated, with some claiming it is now almost as good as a human writer.”
In February this year, OpenAI catapulted itself into the public eye when it produced a language model so good at generating fake news that the organization decided not to release it.
Recently, they released an advanced version of it. The model, called GPT-2, was trained on a dataset of eight million web pages, and is able to adapt to the style and content of the initial text given to it. “It can finish a Shakespeare poem as well as write articles and epithets,” the report stated.
A BBC report, based on research and tests done by BBC staff and technocrats found that a Text Generator, built by research firm OpenAI, has developed a new, powerful version of the system – that could be used to create fake news or abusive spam on social media.
Tristan Greene, an author, commented about AI, “I’m terrified of GPT-2 because it represents the kind of technology that evil humans are going to use to manipulate the population – and in my opinion that makes it more dangerous than any gun.”
President Donald Trump has been warning about “fake news” throughout his entire political career putting a dark cloud over the journalism professional.
A new program called “deepfaking,” a product of AI and machine learning advancements that allows high-tech computers to produce completely false yet remarkably realistic videos depicting events that never happened or people saying things they never said.
Deepfake technology is allowing organizations that produce fake news to augment their “reporting” with seemingly legitimate videos, blurring the line between reality and fiction like never before — and placing the reputation of journalists and the media at greater risk.
It is alarming that machines are now equipped with the “intelligence” to create fake news, and write like humans, adapting to human style and content, appealing to the sections of audience they want to target.
The quest for artificial intelligence (AI) began over 70 years ago, with the idea that computers would one day be able to think like us. Ambitious predictions attracted generous funding, but after a few decades there was little to show for it. But, in the last 25 years, new approaches to AI, coupled with advances in technology, mean that we may now be on the brink of realizing those pioneers’ dreams.
Artificial intelligence is able to transform the relationship between people and technology, charging our creativity and skills. The future of AI promises a new era of disruption and productivity, where human ingenuity is enhanced by speed and precision.
When this happens, the journalism industry is going to face a massive consumer trust issue, according to Zhao. He fears it will be hard for top-tier media outlets to distinguish a real video from a doctored one, let alone news consumers who haphazardly stumble across the video on Twitter.
While Artificial Intelligence has advanced much, with the noble purpose of making life easier for human beings, it has thrown massive challenges for all of us and for the need to carefully distinguish reality from fake news; from truth to falsehood.
Human behavior and our responses to the newsfeed has changed along with the rise of the Internet and social media. People are always on their smartphones or gadgets checking on their social media accounts that they often mistake virtual reality for real life. While it has helped us connect instantly with people living thousands of miles away, it has contributed to people losing real “touch” with people in their lives.
Moreover, people usually only show the good side of their lives to the public but in reality, life is not a bed of roses. There are difficulties and challenges that come our way but we often bottle it up, to give others the perception that our life is perfect. In that way, social media affects human behavior negatively.
The key here is to use it in moderation knowing how many people often lose themselves when using it. Even too much of a good thing can still be bad for you.