Chatbots have the clear potential to influence people towards dangerous beliefs and behaviors. How can we mitigate the risk to ensure they deliver benefits to society, not harm?
In the rapidly evolving world of artificial intelligence, concerns about the potential dangers of AI systems being used for political indoctrination have been voiced by many prominent figures – including, recently, Elon Musk, who criticized ChatGPT for being too politically liberal and expressed his intention to create less “woke” alternatives.
While concerns about the biases of AI systems are valid, we must carefully consider the broader implications of using AI as a means of political indoctrination and even radicalization. To understand the potential dangers of AI systems in this context, we must understand the long history of media being used for propaganda purposes.
One such example is Nazi Germany, where the regime used various forms of media, including films, posters, and radio broadcasts, to manipulate public opinion and promote anti-Semitic sentiments. Another is the former Soviet Union, which employed state-controlled media, posters, and art to disseminate Communist ideology and suppress dissent. In both cases, media-delivered propaganda played a crucial role in shaping the beliefs and actions of individuals, with highly negative consequences.
How AI could exploit human biases to sinister ends
AI systems present an even more powerful and sophisticated tool for political indoctrination than traditional media because they can interact with, learn from, and adapt to the characteristics of users. By leveraging data-driven insights into users’ preferences, beliefs, and habits, AI systems can deliver highly personalized content that exploits individual vulnerabilities and predispositions.
This level of customization enhances the persuasive power of AI-generated content and raises the possibility of it being exploited for indoctrination purposes, especially in vulnerable individuals. We must, therefore, remain vigilant about the risks associated with AI systems in promoting political ideologies and encouraging radicalization.