FEATURE2 January 2020

Machine wars

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AI Features Impact

The war on fake news faces a new enemy: could bad actors harness AI technology to generate disinformation without the need for human writers? By Katie McQuater


Disinformation is not a new problem; propaganda and fake news have been used as weapons throughout history. Modern technology, however, has given disinformation a new edge: never has it been easier to disseminate and spread false information with the intention of misleading people.

While disinformation as we know it is written by humans and spread via social media, researchers at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence have turned their focus to a new potential threat: neural fake news created by machines.

Developments in natural language generation and artificial intelligence mean they could be used to generate fake news without the need for human sleight of hand. The Allen Institute has responded to this potential threat by building a prototype, called Grover, to detect neural fake news – and to generate fake content itself, as this has been found to be the best way of detecting it. The model can distinguish between news written by humans and news written by a ...