AI helping Meta to fight misinformation in elections, says ex-deputy PM

By John Mercury April 11, 2024

Artificial intelligence can be a “sword and a shield” against misinformation as billions of people head to the polls, Sir Nick Clegg has said.

During a year in which more than half of the world’s population elects their leaders, “we should be vigilant but we should also think of AI as a tool to navigate that landscape,” he said during an AI panel hosted by Meta at its London office.

The former UK deputy prime minister joined Meta in 2018 and is now head of global affairs at the company, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Of the major elections that have already taken place this year, such as those in Taiwan, Pakistan and Indonesia, Meta has recorded very little evidence that AI tools have been used in a systematic way to disrupt them, according to Mr Clegg.

He accepted there are risks but urged everyone to “think of AI as a sword, not just a shield, when it comes to bad content”.

“If you look at Meta, the world’s largest social media platform, the single biggest reason why we’re getting better and better in reducing the bad content that we don’t want on Instagram and Facebook is for one reason – AI,” he said.

The use of AI to scan Meta’s content has led to a reduction of between 50% and 60% in “bad content,” Mr Clegg added on Tuesday.

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He also announced during the conference that Meta’s next large language model, Llama 3, would be rolled out within the next month.

Executives at OpenAI, which is backed by Microsoft, indicated that their next model, which is expected to be called GPT-5, will be ready soon.

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Both models will be capable of reasoning and planning, taking them a step further in cognition than the models both companies have already released.

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Later this year, there will be elections in the United States, the UK and India, among others.

As generative AI tools become readily available to the public, it is easier for users to generate images, text and audio with the aim of spreading misinformation and disinformation.

Full Fact, the fact-checking charity, said the UK’s electoral systems and processes were “more vulnerable to misinformation and disinformation than ever” after the widespread introduction of consumer AI tools, and called for more government intervention to tackle the problem.

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