Published on April 5, 2024, 2:13 pm

Microsoft Raises Concerns Over Chinese Use Of Generative Ai For Disruptive Purposes

Microsoft has once again raised concerns about China’s utilization of generative AI to disrupt the United States during the ongoing election year. State-sponsored groups, with support from North Korea, are anticipated to target elections in South Korea and India following a similar strategy deployed during Taiwan’s presidential election earlier this year.

In their recent report titled “East Asia threat actors employ unique methods,” Microsoft disclosed that Chinese campaigns have been refining AI-generated content such as videos, memes, and audio to influence various platforms. Although the impact may not be significant at present, Microsoft warns that as these tactics evolve, they could become more potent over time.

Earlier this year, analysts from the Microsoft Threat Analysis Center highlighted Chinese operatives using generative AI to create divisive social media content on topics like gun violence and defamatory posts about US political figures and symbols.

The current report delves into conspiratorial content produced by Chinese social media accounts through generative AI. For instance, a Beijing-backed group named Storm 1376 alleged in August 2023 that the US government purposefully triggered wildfires in Hawaii using advanced weather manipulation technology. This same group spread conspiracy theories related to incidents like the Kentucky rail derailment while attempting to sow discord in Japan and South Korea.

During the January Taiwanese elections, Storm 1376 was notably active, treating it as a preliminary exercise for upcoming elections elsewhere. They circulated fabricated audio clips of Foxconn founder Terry Gou endorsing a different candidate after dropping out of the race. Additionally, they disseminated AI-generated memes targeting eventual winner William Lai with unsubstantiated claims about his personal life.

One major challenge in combating misinformation propagated through realistic generative AI is convincing individuals that such content is indeed fake. People often find it challenging to discern fabricated information when it aligns with their existing beliefs.

With technology constantly evolving and bad actors finding new ways to exploit it for disruptive purposes, vigilance and awareness remain crucial in safeguarding against such nefarious activities in today’s digital age.


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