There are two letters which dominate national conversations at the moment. AI. What is it, what can it do now, what will it be able to do and what does that mean for society and how will it affect people’s real lives? Both for good and ill. Everyone has a different view and our national governments have yet to negotiate an agreed, global ethical and industrial standard.
Obviously for Index our concerns focus solely on the potential impact of AI on speech and freedom of expression. Algorithms can amplify speech or de-list speech. No one yet knows what the impact of AI will be on speech but we fear how tyrants and despots may seek to manipulate national narratives and to manage propaganda channels both at home and abroad.
Given the wide-ranging conversations I thought the best starting point would be to ask the most accessible AI platform what they thought was going to happen next and this was the response from ChatGPT.
As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to advance at an unprecedented pace, its potential implications for freedom of expression cannot be ignored. While AI offers various benefits, there are growing concerns that it may inadvertently amplify censorship and restrict the fundamental right to express oneself. In this blog, we explore how AI poses a threat to freedom of expression and highlights the potential increase in censorship.
Automated content moderation
AI-driven content moderation systems are increasingly employed by social media platforms to filter and remove objectionable or illegal content. However, AI algorithms can be prone to biases, leading to inadvertent censorship. Without careful design and continuous monitoring, these systems may disproportionately target certain groups or viewpoints, limiting diverse opinions and stifling open dialogue. The over-reliance on AI for content moderation also raises concerns about lack of transparency and accountability in decision-making processes.
AI algorithms play a pivotal role in curating and personalising online content. While this can enhance user experiences, it also poses a risk to freedom of expression. Algorithmic filtering algorithms have the potential to create “filter bubbles” where individuals are only exposed to information that aligns with their existing beliefs. This can reinforce echo chambers, limit exposure to diverse perspectives, and impede critical thinking. By shaping the information users consume, AI-powered algorithms inadvertently control the flow of information and hinder the free exchange of ideas.
Deepfakes and disinformation
Advancements in AI have facilitated the creation of highly realistic deepfake videos and manipulated images, raising concerns about the spread of disinformation. Deepfakes can be exploited to manipulate public opinion, erode trust in authentic media, and create chaos. In response, governments and platforms might resort to increased censorship to combat this threat. While some censorship may be necessary to prevent harm, striking the right balance is crucial to avoid infringing upon individuals’ rights to express themselves freely.
In conclusion while AI offers immense potential for innovation and progress, it also poses threats to freedom of expression and could potentially increase censorship. It is essential to address these challenges by fostering transparency, accountability, and inclusivity in AI systems. Striking the right balance between AI’s capabilities and preserving fundamental rights is crucial for safeguarding freedom of expression in an AI-driven world.
After using ChatGPT for the first time to generate this blog – I now have two very different concerns. One, will I ever need to actually sit down and write a blog again? And two, even according to AI itself, we may have a lot of work ahead to protect freedom of expression in an AI-controlled environment.
As ever there is work to be done and Index will be at the frontline to protect our collective fundamental right of freedom of expression.
[The image of our CEO Ruth Anderson writing a blog post with the help of artifical intelligence at the top of this article was also generated by AI. Credit: Bing.]