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Democracy in the Digital Age: Top Reads on AI and Disinformation in January

We’ve curated a selection of our top reads for January about disinformation and the role of AI in disrupting democracies all across the world. These articles are all concerning, and some quite dystopian in nature. However, instead of keeping our heads in the sand, it’s best that we understand these threats and find collective ways of working together to mitigate these risks. So, on that note, stay informed, ask questions, and embrace critical thinking. 

Disinformation tops global risks 

The World Economic Forum's Global Risks Report 2024 highlighted disinformation as the top risk facing the world in 2024. The report, drawing on insights from over 1 400 experts, foresees a fragmented world order and increased geopolitical tensions. It emphasises the urgent need for global cooperation to address risks like AI-driven misinformation, societal polarisation, and environmental degradation. The report advocates for building resilience at individual, state, and international levels through strategies like digital literacy campaigns and climate technology development.

Read more here.


AI robocall mimics Biden and misleads voters

A robocall imitating President Joe Biden's voice instructed Democrats not to vote in the New Hampshire primary, sparking calls for a criminal investigation. The call suggested that voters save their votes for November 2024, misleadingly implying Biden's non-participation in the primary due to calendar reorganisation. The incident raised concerns about AI's role in politics, with OpenAI recently banning a developer for a similar violation. The Federal Election Commission is considering regulations for AI in campaigns, amidst growing worries about deepfakes and misinformation in elections.

Read more here

EU report on disinformation reveals targeted attacks on media and LGBTQ+ groups

The European Union’s annual disinformation report for 2023 highlights targeted attacks on European democracy, media, and LGBTQ+ organisations. Malicious manipulation of celebrity images and voices was a key tactic used. The report highlights initiatives to undermine Ukraine, and the spread of fake news during elections that took place in Poland and Spain. 

Read more here

How artificial intelligence is being used in elections around the world 

A report by ABC News reveals how the use of AI in politics has become a concerning phenomenon, which is currently being used to enhance the images of politicians and discredit their rivals. AI is readily accessible, which has allowed for the easy creation of fake content and amplified the risk of disinformation during elections. Some tech platforms are already working to mitigate these threats, aiming to safeguard democratic processes.  

Read more here

Lessons from Taiwan in combating disinformation 

In Taiwan’s recent presidential election, disinformation attempts were swiftly countered by fact-checking groups and government action. Despite concerns over China’s influence, Taiwan’s multifaceted approach involved the government, independent fact-checkers, and citizens. This proactive stance, emphasising early detection and debunking of false narratives, offers a model for other democracies facing similar challenges in an era of widespread disinformation. 

Read more here. 

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