According to Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the capability to disrupt elections and undermine democracy. This can be achieved through the creation of deepfakes and the dissemination of misinformation. In a recent blog post, Gates shared his concerns regarding the utilization of AI-generated deepfakes during elections. He emphasized that these deepfakes have the potential to manipulate election results. Although it has always been possible to spread doubt about election results without advanced technology, the advent of AI has significantly facilitated the manipulation and deception involved in such efforts.
Gates’s tone regarding AI has shifted from optimism to a more cautious stance compared to his previous blog entry in March. The significance of addressing the potential risks linked to AI is increasing, particularly in anticipation of the highly contentious 2024 presidential election.
According to a report by Reuters, the number of deepfake videos has tripled this year compared to the previous year. Additionally, DeepMedia has reported that voice deepfakes have increased eightfold in the same time period. In 2023, there was a significant political deepfake that gained attention on social media. An AI-generated video representing former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton backing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for president was used in the deepfake. While the video in question was a deepfake, it is still uncertain whether it had any impact on the opinions of voters.
According to DeepMedia, around 500,000 video and voice deepfakes are expected to be shared on social media platforms globally this year. This staggering number underscores the significant concern surrounding this issue.
Given his association with Microsoft, Gates’s comments on AI and its impact on the political process are anticipated to have a significant impact on the technology industry.
Microsoft’s recent investment in OpenAI, specifically in their ChatGPT natural language AI technology, showcases the company’s strong conviction in the future importance of AI. Microsoft has released an upgraded version of its Bing search engine, which now incorporates OpenAI’s ChatGPT technology. This integration has resulted in improved functionalities and features. In addition, Microsoft has announced its plans to integrate ChatGPT into its 365 suite of business software. This suite includes widely used applications such as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.
The investment made by Microsoft in OpenAI has sparked an arms race among various technology companies. For instance, Salesforce just introduced Einstein GPT, which they claim is the first generative AI customer relationship management (CRM) platform in the world. Einstein GPT allows salespeople to create personalized emails and provide customized responses to customer inquiries.
Despite the potential risks, Gates maintains a sense of cautious optimism. He believes that individuals have the capacity to develop discernment and not blindly accept everything they encounter. To support his point, he mentions email scams as an example, where people have been deceived by messages that falsely promise financial rewards. As individuals became increasingly aware of these scams, they acquired the skill to carefully examine and evaluate such emails. Gates is hopeful that a comparable level of discernment will emerge in order to effectively identify and counter deepfakes. Additionally, he highlights the potential of AI in detecting and generating deepfakes, presenting a possible solution to tackle this problem.
In conclusion, the increasing presence of AI presents significant challenges when it comes to protecting elections and upholding democratic processes. The concerns raised by Bill Gates emphasized the need for immediate action in developing strategies to address the creation and spread of deepfakes and misinformation. By increasing awareness and utilizing the capabilities of AI, we can effectively reduce the risks and safeguard the integrity of upcoming elections and democratic systems.