AITech Interview with Colin Levy, Director of Legal at Malbek

Colin, could you elaborate on the concerns you’ve raised regarding AI’s impact on elections?

Answer: When it comes to AI and its impact/role in elections, the challenge is misinformation, generated by deep fakes (e.g. someone’s image and voice being used to propagate false opinions and incorrect information), bot accounts on social media propagating incorrect and/or misleading information and people’s susceptibility these types of behaviors. In practical terms this means that we all need to be more skeptical of what we see, read, and encounter online and be able to verify what we see and hear online.

How does AI contribute to the dissemination of misinformation and disinformation during electoral processes, in your view?

Answer: AI contributes to the dissemination of misinformation and disinformation by enabling the creation and spread of convincing fake content, such as deepfakes, and by personalizing and optimizing the delivery of content on social media platforms. These capabilities can be exploited to create false narratives, impersonate public figures, and undermine trust in the electoral process.

Can you provide examples of how AI technologies, such as deepfakes and social media manipulation, undermine the integrity of elections?

Deepfakes: AI-generated videos or audio recordings that convincingly depict real people saying or doing things they never did, which can be used to create false impressions of candidates or mislead about their positions.

Social Media Manipulation: The use of bots and algorithms to amplify divisive content, spread falsehoods, and manipulate trending topics to influence political discourse.

Personalized ads:The creation and use of political ads designed to mislead, convince others of false information, and/or get them to take actions that may be against their best interests and benefit someone else unbeknownst to the viewer of the ad.

What specific measures do you recommend to combat the threat of AI interference in elections?

Answer: I do not pretend or purport to have all the answers or even any answers, per se. What I can suggest is that measures including developing and enforcing strict regulations on political advertising and the use of personal data for political purposes, implementing robust and verifiable fact-checking and content verification mechanisms to identify and label or remove false information, and encouraging the development of AI systems that prioritize transparency, accountability, and the detection of manipulative content may be useful.

In your opinion, how can transparency and accountability in AI algorithms help prevent their misuse in the electoral context?

Answer: Enhancing transparency involves making the workings of AI algorithms more understandable and accessible to regulators and the public, including disclosing when and how AI is used in content curation and distribution. Accountability measures include holding platforms and creators legally and ethically responsible for the content disseminated by their AI systems so as to ensure that there are mechanisms to challenge and rectify misleading or harmful outputs.

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