Artificially intelligent deception

Artificially intelligent deception

You may have caught the recent TV documentary called Dispatches: Can AI Steal Your Vote? (available on Box of Broadcasts if you missed it). It made the shocking case that fake posts, fake news and deep fake video can, and probably is, influencing not just how we vote but how we think and communicate with others. It also showed how social media plays a large part in the spread of disinformation.

The programme demonstrated how easy it is now for anyone to use generative AI not just to create realistic photos and convincing memes that are simply untrue or wildly misleading but even to create sound and video recordings of people saying things they’ve never said. A brilliant example was given by Stephen Fry and Romesh Ranganathan, who both agreed to take part, supporting both main political parties in AI-adjusted videos.

It is increasingly apparent that all of us need to be aware of what AI can do, particularly generative AI creating text and images and video at speed and in quantities that were hitherto underheard of. We need to have a good understanding of its power for good, its potential for harm and the ethical considerations that are involved in its use. We all consume media where AI may not be at all apparent. Meanwhile, more and more of us have the opportunity to use AI ourselves. There may even be the expectation that we will. To compete in the workplace, to keep up with our studies, and to show supposedly creative flair when our own imagination is flagging.

To help you understand the issues and assist you in using tools such as ChatGPT, the Library has produced a short set of pages on AI Literacy. These accompany our pages on Information Literacy. The latter helps you navigate the complex world of information and Library resources to get the most out of what’s available for your coursework and dissertations. The AI Literacy pages help you make the most of generative AI for the same reasons – and to avoid the pitfalls they hide – anything from plagiarism to perpetuating structural inequality.

A third thing that the documentary showed was just how easily individuals can be led. Don’t fall into the same trap, but use the Library tools to help learn to think for yourself. Be a leader, not a follower and check out our pages today!

Check out out AI Literacy pages here.

~ Timothy Collinson, Faculty Librarian (Technology)

Assistant Librarian (Promotions) at the University Library. An enthusiastic advocate of libraries, diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice for all, inside and outside the workplace.

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