11 June 2024

Artificial Influence: Exploring AI’s Impact on Political and Social Realities


The spread of disinformation campaigns challenges the integrity of public discourse, democratic processes, and social harmony. These campaigns, designed to mislead, manipulate, and sow discord, are increasingly using artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance their effectiveness and reach.[1] The involvement of AI in disinformation campaigns marks a significant evolution from traditional disinformation campaigns, offering new levels of scalability, customization, and sophistication with lower barriers to entry. Amid the increasing proliferation of AI in asymmetric warfare, election interference, character assassinations, and more, understanding the role of AI in disinformation campaigns is a serious matter of national security.[2] By reviewing the technical underpinnings of AI-driven disinformation campaigns, we can begin to understand the mechanics of these campaigns, recognize their signs, and develop strategies to counteract their influence. This exploration is crucial for developing defenses against the manipulation of the information environment and safeguarding the foundational principles of an open society. 

This paper will provide a basic examination of AI usage in disinformation campaigns, with an emphasis on the mechanisms that facilitate the generation and dissemination of misleading content. These mechanisms include technologies such as natural language processing, deepfakes, and algorithmic content targeting. Following the technical overview, this paper will present a series of plausible and real-world case studies to illustrate the practical application of AI in spreading disinformation across various platforms and contexts. The paper will conclude with policy challenges and opportunities to combat AI-enabled disinformation campaigns.

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