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Is AI a threat to democracy?

For discussion and debate about anything. (Not a roleplay related forum; out-of-character commentary only.)

Are you worried about AI as a threat to the democratic process

I am worried
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35%
I am not worried
45
54%
KITT for President
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Total votes : 83

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Emotional Support Crocodile
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Is AI a threat to democracy?

Postby Emotional Support Crocodile » Wed Feb 07, 2024 2:58 am

I think I read somewhere (though I can't remember where so any pointers would be gratefully received) that this year there are going to be more people able to vote in more general elections than at any time in history. A momentous moment for democracy in the world (if I have remembered the factoid reasonably accurately).

But this comes at a time where AI is beginning to have more power to influence us. Photos, videos, peoples voices can all now be faked pretty quickly in a way that can be harder and harder to detect as fake, This means that politicians can be made to appear as if they have said things, done things, or met with people that will affect their electoral performance. These fakes will be believed, not just by the true believers, who think anything that agrees with them must be true, but are convincing enough to sway a lot of people. A convincing narrative can be more powerfully persuasive than the truth.

We also have bots that can micro-target individual voters with the narrative most likely to sway them. Hacking tools to hack and dump damaging information to be spread by bots, or if none can be found it can be made to appear as if it has.

We have got used to the term 'Russian interference', but let's be honest there are many state actors and other entities who will be doing this around the world. There is also a problem that legislation concerned with electoral fairness may not have been updated to apply online or to deal with the advances in technology.

I worry that these tools will be used to such an extent that it becomes hard to make a decision on who to vote for, because there will be so much conflicting information. We become more likely to make emotional rather than rational voting choices. The level of interference will make the results seem less legitimate leading to court cases and conflict, hobbling the abilities of winners to govern.
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Juansonia
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Postby Juansonia » Wed Feb 07, 2024 3:42 pm

Democracy has seen worse.

It'll probably be fine.
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Almighty Roosevelt
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Postby Almighty Roosevelt » Wed Feb 07, 2024 5:24 pm

What did Al ever do to deserve this?
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Corporate Collective Salvation
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Postby Corporate Collective Salvation » Wed Feb 07, 2024 5:25 pm

We have been deep faking democracy for quite a while without AI.
I am not sure how much more it has to offer at this point.
Last edited by Corporate Collective Salvation on Wed Feb 07, 2024 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Kostane
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Postby Kostane » Wed Feb 07, 2024 5:30 pm

I think that AI will make authoritarianism worse because it allows states to better synthesize information that they use to spy on citizens, but I don't think that it will necessarily weaken democracy.
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Corporate Collective Salvation
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Postby Corporate Collective Salvation » Wed Feb 07, 2024 5:33 pm

Kostane wrote:I think that AI will make authoritarianism worse because it allows states to better synthesize information that they use to spy on citizens, but I don't think that it will necessarily weaken democracy.

The most potentially dangerous tools are always tested out by the most potentially dangerous tools.
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Diarcesia
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Postby Diarcesia » Wed Feb 07, 2024 6:01 pm

The impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on democracy is a topic of ongoing debate and concern. While AI has the potential to enhance democratic processes and improve governance in various ways, it also poses certain risks and challenges that need to be addressed.

Here are some considerations regarding AI's potential impact on democracy:

1. Manipulation of Information: AI-driven algorithms used by social media platforms and online platforms can amplify misinformation, spread fake news, and manipulate public opinion. This can undermine the integrity of democratic processes by shaping public discourse and influencing election outcomes.

2. Privacy Concerns: AI technologies, such as facial recognition and predictive analytics, raise privacy concerns when used for surveillance and monitoring of citizens. Excessive surveillance can infringe on individual rights and freedoms, potentially eroding trust in democratic institutions.

3. Bias and Discrimination: AI algorithms may reflect and perpetuate biases present in the data used to train them. This can result in discriminatory outcomes, such as in criminal justice systems or hiring practices, which can exacerbate existing social inequalities and undermine democratic principles of fairness and equality.

4. Threats to Freedom of Expression: AI-powered content moderation tools used by online platforms to detect and remove harmful content may inadvertently suppress legitimate speech and dissenting voices. This can restrict freedom of expression and hinder democratic deliberation and debate.

5. Concentration of Power: The development and deployment of AI technologies are often driven by large tech companies and powerful governments, raising concerns about the concentration of power and influence. This concentration of power can undermine democratic principles of accountability, transparency, and citizen participation.

6. Displacement of Jobs: The automation of jobs and tasks by AI technologies may lead to job displacement and economic inequality, which can have social and political implications. Disenfranchised and economically marginalized populations may become more susceptible to populist and authoritarian movements, posing a threat to democratic governance.

While AI offers potential benefits for democracy, such as improved decision-making, greater efficiency, and enhanced public services, it also presents significant challenges that must be addressed to safeguard democratic values and principles. Effective regulation, transparency, accountability mechanisms, and public engagement are essential to mitigate the risks associated with AI and ensure that it serves the broader interests of society.

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Eragon Island
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Postby Eragon Island » Wed Feb 07, 2024 6:05 pm

It can't get any worse, at least with 'voting' and things. Democracy is not fine, but it'll weather AI.
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Mutualist Chaos
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Postby Mutualist Chaos » Wed Feb 07, 2024 7:02 pm

Emotional Support Crocodile wrote:I worry that these tools will be used to such an extent that it becomes hard to make a decision on who to vote for, because there will be so much conflicting information. We become more likely to make emotional rather than rational voting choices. The level of interference will make the results seem less legitimate leading to court cases and conflict, hobbling the abilities of winners to govern.


Information literacy is already the most serious deficit in the democratic process (to the extent that such a process exists in the first place). The democratization of publishing - in which the necessity of market power and capital to reach readers has been steadily reduced over time to the point where it is now essentially zero regardless of the veracity or value of your "reporting" - has given us such an ocean of conflicting, mutually exclusive facts and worldviews that you can find respectable-sounding sources to support literally whatever your preconceived prejudices may be. Back in the day there was a single set of agreed facts and relations constituting the orthodox worldview, opposed perhaps by one or two sets of underground/"alternative" media and interpretation - the mainstream media as we know it, plus the likes of communist party organs, John Birch society newsletters, word of mouth zines, etc. You would choose your information sources based on one of these worldviews and while interpretations of context might have varied a little, the MSM was sufficiently dominant to set the narrative, with alternative media reacting to the mainstream reporting, with individual facts and theories perhaps called out as lies but the constellation of events as a whole remaining mostly consistent.

Note that this doesn't necessarily mean that people had a better grasp of the truth than they have now; just that our worldview was much more unified, so the postwar liberal consensus was so dominant as to be the only "real" choice for understanding the world if you didn't want to be immediately dismissed as a crank. What the internet has done is destroy, utterly, the bounds of debate. In other words the filters by which the propaganda model of media communication functioned have been obliterated. This was the degradation of the old means by which government and corporate power shaped the narrative to their advantage, opening the field to all kinds of fact constellations and interpretations, whether mine (good, rebellious, against the evil government's lies) or my enemies' (evil, tyrannical, the result of Deep State/capitalist/commie/fascist/cultist/etc. nefariousness).

Artificial intelligence or large language models are not going to increase the multiplicity of narratives and fact constellations very much beyond the already severely metastasized set that we've seen in the last decade or so. What they will do is make it very much cheaper for institutions (governments and companies) to push a specific agenda without having to pay humans to write the ad copy. We've already been dealing with lies for decades; the internet made them explode like a thousand mutually exclusive glitter bombs; AI will simply keep them coming.

There is the potential for a darwinian process by which bad information leads to its believers becoming isolated or unemployable, and thus that mis/disinformation dying out; the problem is that that process will increasingly involve violence as believers take on increasingly incompatible worldviews and strike out in fear of their perceived enemies. We can't afford, at this point in history, to have such disparate ideologies competing for mindshare of a population already ravaged by economic decline and looking for scapegoats, whether internal and susceptible to firearms and lynchings, or external and susceptible to military and nuclear action. The thing we need to worry about isn't AI per se, it's the human tendency to accept facts and narratives that reinforce our existing prejudices and beliefs, and the difficulty of teaching critical thinking and judgment.

But that's nothing new. The playing field is just bigger now.
Last edited by Mutualist Chaos on Wed Feb 07, 2024 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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CONNN
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Postby CONNN » Wed Feb 07, 2024 8:18 pm

The gun is innocent, what matters is who holds it

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Greater Somoiland
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Postby Greater Somoiland » Wed Feb 07, 2024 8:22 pm

CONNN wrote:The gun is innocent, what matters is who holds it

Wrong thread? Or am I just dumb? I’m probably just dumb
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Postby Juansonia » Wed Feb 07, 2024 9:19 pm

Greater Somoiland wrote:
CONNN wrote:The gun is innocent, what matters is who holds it
Wrong thread? Or am I just dumb? I’m probably just dumb
Replace "gun" with "LLM" and "holds it" with "types the prompt".

That should de-analogise this.
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Postby The Black Forrest » Wed Feb 07, 2024 9:40 pm

AI itself? Nahh. The people engineering it? Sure.
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Kalaron
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Postby Kalaron » Wed Feb 07, 2024 9:47 pm

AI is a threat in the same way Fox News is.

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Saarenmaa
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Postby Saarenmaa » Thu Feb 08, 2024 7:55 am

Artificial intelligence is just a tool, like a knife that can be used to operate on people and thus save their lives, or to inflict wounds, in a robbery for the purpose of murder. What matters is who uses the tool, not the tool itself.

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Postby Floofybit » Thu Feb 08, 2024 8:07 am

I hope so
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Corporate Collective Salvation
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Postby Corporate Collective Salvation » Thu Feb 08, 2024 12:09 pm

Kalaron wrote:AI is a threat in the same way Fox News is.

Faux awareness all the way around.

Saarenmaa wrote:What matters is who uses the tool, not the tool itself.

Been trying to hammer that one home for decades, but general human awareness is still behind the curve.
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Emotional Support Crocodile
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Postby Emotional Support Crocodile » Thu Feb 08, 2024 12:43 pm

The US FCC has decided to make AI-generated robocalls illegal.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-68240887

The federal agency that regulates communication in the US has made robocalls that use AI-generated voices illegal.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the move on Thursday, saying it will take effect immediately.

It gives the state power to prosecute any bad actors behind these calls, the FCC said.

It comes amid a rise in robocalls that have mimicked the voices of celebrities and political candidates.

"Bad actors are using AI-generated voices in unsolicited robocalls to extort vulnerable family members, imitate celebrities, and misinform voters," said FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in a statement on Thursday.

"We're putting the fraudsters behind these robocalls on notice."
The move comes on the heels of an incident last month in which voters in New Hampshire received robocalls impersonating US President Joe Biden ahead of the state's presidential primary.

The calls encouraged voters not to cast ballots in the primary. An estimated 5,000 to 25,000 were placed.

New Hampshire's attorney general said the calls were linked to two companies in Texas and that a criminal investigation is underway.

The FCC said these calls have the potential to confuse consumers with misinformation by imitating public figures, and in some instances, close family members.

The agency added that, while state attorneys general can prosecute companies and individuals behind these calls for crimes like scams or fraud, this latest action makes the use of AI-generated voices in these calls itself illegal.

It "expands the legal avenues through which state law enforcement agencies can hold these perpetrators accountable under the law".

In mid-January, the FCC received a letter signed by attorneys general from 26 states asking the agency to act on restricting the use of AI in marketing phone calls.

"Technology is advancing and expanding, seemingly by the minute, and we must ensure these new developments are not used to prey upon, deceive, or manipulate consumers," said Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry, who led the effort.

The letter follows a Notice of Inquiry put forward by the FCC in November 2023 that requested input from across the country on the use of AI technology in consumer communications.

Deepfakes - which use AI to make video or audio of someone by manipulating their face, body, or voice - have emerged as a major concern around the world at a time when major elections are, or will soon, be underway in countries like the US, UK and India.

Senior British politicians have been subject to audio deepfakes, as have politicians in nations including Slovakia and Argentina.

The National Cyber Security centre in the UK has warned of the threats AI fakes pose to the country's next election.
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Stellar Colonies
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Postby Stellar Colonies » Thu Feb 08, 2024 12:46 pm

Emotional Support Crocodile wrote:The US FCC has decided to make AI-generated robocalls illegal.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-68240887

The federal agency that regulates communication in the US has made robocalls that use AI-generated voices illegal.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the move on Thursday, saying it will take effect immediately.

It gives the state power to prosecute any bad actors behind these calls, the FCC said.

It comes amid a rise in robocalls that have mimicked the voices of celebrities and political candidates.

"Bad actors are using AI-generated voices in unsolicited robocalls to extort vulnerable family members, imitate celebrities, and misinform voters," said FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in a statement on Thursday.

"We're putting the fraudsters behind these robocalls on notice."
The move comes on the heels of an incident last month in which voters in New Hampshire received robocalls impersonating US President Joe Biden ahead of the state's presidential primary.

The calls encouraged voters not to cast ballots in the primary. An estimated 5,000 to 25,000 were placed.

New Hampshire's attorney general said the calls were linked to two companies in Texas and that a criminal investigation is underway.

The FCC said these calls have the potential to confuse consumers with misinformation by imitating public figures, and in some instances, close family members.

The agency added that, while state attorneys general can prosecute companies and individuals behind these calls for crimes like scams or fraud, this latest action makes the use of AI-generated voices in these calls itself illegal.

It "expands the legal avenues through which state law enforcement agencies can hold these perpetrators accountable under the law".

In mid-January, the FCC received a letter signed by attorneys general from 26 states asking the agency to act on restricting the use of AI in marketing phone calls.

"Technology is advancing and expanding, seemingly by the minute, and we must ensure these new developments are not used to prey upon, deceive, or manipulate consumers," said Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry, who led the effort.

The letter follows a Notice of Inquiry put forward by the FCC in November 2023 that requested input from across the country on the use of AI technology in consumer communications.

Deepfakes - which use AI to make video or audio of someone by manipulating their face, body, or voice - have emerged as a major concern around the world at a time when major elections are, or will soon, be underway in countries like the US, UK and India.

Senior British politicians have been subject to audio deepfakes, as have politicians in nations including Slovakia and Argentina.

The National Cyber Security centre in the UK has warned of the threats AI fakes pose to the country's next election.

I would probably be happier if they crossed out “AI-generated” regarding that.
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Glorious Freedonia
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Postby Glorious Freedonia » Thu Feb 08, 2024 1:40 pm

Stellar Colonies wrote:
Emotional Support Crocodile wrote:The US FCC has decided to make AI-generated robocalls illegal.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-68240887


I would probably be happier if they crossed out “AI-generated” regarding that.


Me too.

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Postby ImSaLiA » Thu Feb 08, 2024 4:25 pm

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Postby Dimetrodon Empire » Thu Feb 08, 2024 4:55 pm

When AI makes convincing deepfakes, yes, it is a threat to democracy.
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Kashimura
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Postby Kashimura » Fri Feb 09, 2024 11:48 am

Is it a threat? Perhaps; what isn’t in the realm of misinformation? That picture of Taylor Swift eating an ice cream cone in front of crying African children was fairly convincing for the first four seconds.

Is it a serious threat? I don’t think we’re quite at that stage yet. People know about the presidents playing Minecraft; whether or not they’re actually good at spotting, I think there’s a baseline level of skepticism that’s been slowly building when it comes to approaching content clearly made to sway opinions. Not to mention some of these deep fakes sound like the subject’s personality was lobotomized.
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Saarenmaa
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Postby Saarenmaa » Fri Feb 09, 2024 2:14 pm

Kostane wrote:I think that AI will make authoritarianism worse because it allows states to better synthesize information that they use to spy on citizens, but I don't think that it will necessarily weaken democracy.


Isn't democracy itself weakening, whether it is in decline or not from artificial intelligence.

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Ineva
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Postby Ineva » Fri Feb 09, 2024 7:33 pm

Yes. Democracy has already been threatened by ourselves for a long time. AI will simply be the finishing blow.
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