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AI Misinformation: Concerns and Prevention Methods

AI Misinformation: Concerns and Prevention Methods

The advent of Large Language Model (LLM)-backed generative AI systems was a global concern in 2023, regularly making the rounds. Now as we move into 2024, it’s only a matter of time before AI continues to evolve and grow in sophistication and availability.

The idea that open-source tools could rapidly generate convincing text, images, videos, and audio recordings with sharp accuracy to humans was, at one point, a panacea. AI’s continued prevalence in the market has sprung huge concerns from experts about its authenticity and validity, not to mention the rise of AI and automation-powered cybercrime.

However, one of the more overlooked concerns is AI’s propensity to make stuff up, which has severe implications for organizations trying to stand out in today’s highly competitive and scrutinous digital space. Not only that but deploying widespread AI solutions can affect a business’s internal policies and infrastructure, so there are internal and external concerns.

AI Has a Tendency to Falsify Information

ChatGPT and  other globally recognized tools like Bard, Bing Chat, Claude, Perplexity, and others, regularly experience ‘hallucinations’. In simple terms, this is when the language tool dispenses content that is not rooted in factual evidence, but rather, conjecture. It often boils down to the specific tool simply satisfying the user’s prompt or request as closely and as quickly as possible, completely ignoring context and factual accuracy.

However, an underlying problem persists. The constant use of AI-generated text, which is only going to grow in the coming months and years, runs the risk of the potential spread of misinformation, disinformation, and fake news. The creators of modern LLMs have been perceived to use AI hallucinations as an excuse to blame tools for faulty or defamatory outputs, rather than take responsibility for the outputs themselves.

The main takeaway from this is that, because this has been allowed to proliferate to such a degree already, it only emphasizes the need for stronger human supervision and oversight over any AI-generated content.

While AI promises numerous benefits, the absence of proper safeguards, considered integration, and thoughtful human-led implementation could pose even greater global concerns. Unsupervised AI-powered applications and tools and dispensed misinformed discourse could do more harm than good, which is why business leaders must take affirmative preventative action before it spirals out of control.

Understanding the Potential for Harm Courtesy of AI

There’s no denying that businesses can leverage AI effectively as a way to improve productivity and efficiency by augmenting their teams. However, it’s important to look beyond the outcomes of cost savings and more completed tasks and examine AI-generated content methodically.

Copyright and Privacy Concerns

For example, images taken by a real camera can be mirrored closely with the help of AI tools. However, it’s prudent to examine whether there are any breaches of copyright or privacy, or biases which can be used to perpetuate harmful opinions. 

Unsupervised AI image generation can result in legal or regulatory fines if the content is found to infringe on an original creator’s work. In many ways, marketers and visual storytellers in business can avoid this cost-effectively by taking original images with high-quality and reputable used equipment, but most businesses can still benefit from using AI image generators if they understand the risks. Not only this, but deepfakes and computer-generated propaganda continue to be controversial, which is why businesses should approach the use of these tools cautiously. 

More broadly speaking, integrating AI into multiple facets of an organization runs the risk of teams becoming complacent, thus allowing more ‘covert’ phishing scams to slip through the proverbial cracks. Unverified and anomalous data can therefore move laterally through an organization’s infrastructure, posing an array of cyber security concerns.

Perpetuating False Information

Text generators can also spread false information that appears convincing due to the way that it’s written. AI tools lack the inherent contextual information to detect whether any text is factual or not, unlike the human brain. AI models are trained on data that they have aggregated, as well as instructions that they are given, and lack the intuition to assuage whether the text is harmful, biased, or ignorant of any facts, data or evidence.

Therefore, if users ask AI tools to perpetuate ‘human-esque’ text that reinforces stereotypes, outdated opinions or biases (unconscious and conscious), there is a greater risk of this content reaching the public eye, particularly as there is - at present - an alarming lack of independent regulation, although this is on the horizon.

However, with thorough foresight and vigilance, responsible businesses can navigate these obstacles effectively. The following practices and prevention methods aim to encourage the beneficial adoption of AI technology and promote its ethical integration within your existing infrastructure.

How to Integrate and Implement AI Ethically to Prevent the Spread of Misinformation

Identifying and isolating ‘fake news’ is a huge challenge across the modern digital ecosystem of today. At a company level, it’s up to leaders and marketers to prevent any original content belonging to them (be it text, image or video) from perpetuating any unfair stereotypes or promoting dangerous or misinformed ideals.

When approaching any AI-powered tool to integrate into your incumbent systems and setup, it’s important not to be blinded purely by the cost- and time-saving benefits it promises. Establish the following ground rules before you begin to explore powering operations with the help of AI and automation.

Promoting Truthfulness and Accuracy

Generators and consumers of any content (entirely or partially generated by AI) should exercise care and maintain a degree of responsibility for its truthfulness and authenticity.

Businesses should fact-check any text before it's published to catch any anomalies or arguments expressed that could be viewed as questionable. Supervise and manage any content before, during, and after its publishing, providing context on sources and disclaimers for any synthetic media generated to maintain accountability. Label any AI-generated content properly to prevent consumers from becoming confused or desensitized to its narratives.

Misinformed AI content can have long-term cybersecurity risks too, especially if AI tools aggregate and distribute data without any filters for its sensitivity. This is why businesses must exercise consistent oversight and management of AI tools to ensure any private data is not mistakenly dispensed to the public.

Made-up, falsified, or exaggerated information generated by AI will eventually prove more difficult to spot, particularly as tools grow in sophistication. Businesses have to deploy strict measures that verify any potential falsehoods or fake narratives before AI content reaches the public eye and encourages the proliferation of misinformed data. Fostering a transparent culture that facilitates methodical cyber prevention, rather than a reaction-first approach, will prove key in upholding data integrity as well as cybersecurity.

Fundamentally, organizations should exercise transparency and disclose any use of generative AI models and systems to avoid ambiguity. Over time, they should internally monitor and refine any systems integrated with AI to check that they are maintaining expected quality standards and accuracy.

Upholding Privacy and Consent

Many leaders warn that AI poses significant human rights concerns and has the potential to disrupt life for millions of people in profound ways. While these may not be apparent given the current AI landscape, and with the widely known limitations of generative AI, adopting a human-first approach will be crucial for businesses looking to leverage this transformative technology. Businesses can stay a step ahead of malicious actors executing cyber-attacks with a multi-layered approach to security by deploying real-time alerts, constant threat monitoring, and anomalous data identification solutions, informing them proactively of any suspicious activity.

Safeguarding employee, stakeholder, and consumer rights and freedoms should always remain a priority. This will boil down to organizations obtaining clear consent from all relevant parties before generating images or videos of identifiable people, anonymizing data and protecting identities wherever possible. Companies - especially those in highly regulated industries like finance and healthcare - are bound by stringent privacy laws and regulations, and thus, must approach AI integration with extreme caution.

GlobalSign helps businesses sector-wide obtain their necessary regulatory compliance certificates. With the help of fully-managed and scalable PKI digital certificate solutions, businesses can obtain full peace of mind knowing that as parts of their organization become more automated, regulatory compliance will be maintained. Find out more about our digital certifications here.

Fostering Diversity and Representation

There is growing evidence to suggest that AI systems inherently possess unconscious biases. As new tools and solutions are developed, businesses should consciously monitor and counteract any of these biases from materializing.

When consulting teams for advice and feedback on AI integration and testing, managers should seek diverse perspectives and consciously evaluate any content for unfair or insensitive biases from being perpetuated. 

It’s always wise to actively consider how misinformed content could bilaterally impact marginalized groups and to prevent this discourse from being promoted with your business attached to this. Maintaining inclusivity should apply to any consumer-facing content exactly as any internal communications should be.

Responsibly adopting AI technology will prove to be a constant struggle for businesses this year and beyond. When guided by ethical and inclusive values, however, companies can unlock a huge amount of potential while avoiding the pitfalls associated with misinformation and fake news proliferation. 

With care, diligence, and compassion, innovations in this space can be realized by organizations upholding the interests of humans above the end goals of making financial savings.

Note: This blog article was written by a guest contributor for the purpose of offering a wider variety of content for our readers. The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of GlobalSign.

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