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UN warns of AI’s threat on information integrity; deep fakes and image generators worrying

Published 13/06/2023, 03:20 pm
© Reuters.  UN warns of AI’s threat on information integrity; deep fakes and image generators worrying

The United Nations warns that emerging technologies such as AI-powered image generators and video deep fakes are posing a serious threat to information integrity on the internet.

Studies and recent reports indicate that generative AI tools are being used to spread mis- and disinformation, including hate speech.

What is worrying is the capability of these tools to present false narratives as convincing facts, posing serious concerns about the veracity of digital communication.

Haphazard ethos

In response to these AI threats, the United Nations Envoy on Technology is spearheading the evaluation of the potential harm posed by generative AI and other emerging platforms.

In a brief, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: "My Envoy on Technology is leading efforts to assess the implications of generative artificial intelligence and other emerging platforms.

“It is critical that we learn from past missteps, where digital platforms were launched without a comprehensive understanding of their possible societal and individual impacts.

“It is high time to abandon the haphazard ethos of 'move fast and break things' that defined the early days of Silicon Valley.

“Instead, we must prioritize the integration of user privacy, security, transparency and safety into all new technologies and products from the outset.”

Regulating AI threats

Recognising the urgency of the situation, the United Nations has started to implement several measures to combat the risks that mis- and disinformation pose.

United Nations peace operations and country offices are actively monitoring and analysing these threats, responding as necessary to ensure the delivery of UN mandates.

To tackle hate speech on a global scale, the United Nations has developed a strategy and plan of action.

In February this year, UNESCO held the Internet for Trust conference to discuss a draft set of global guidelines for regulating digital platforms.

These guidelines, due to be finalised later this year, will serve as a critical step toward regulating AI threats.

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