Researchers warn of fake news apocalypse ahead, fueled by AI

Source:  Sputniknews  01.05.2023


Futurologists have long been warning about “Textpocalypse” – a situation when the Web will be flooded with AI-generated texts and these will be used to train new AI to generate even more text. It seems that the future is almost here.


Researchers from NewsGuard have identified almost 50 websites populated by AI tools which post inaccurate or absolutely fake information. The real problem, however, is not the false information itself, but the fact that such sites disguise themselves as news outlets, taking generic names like Daily Business Post and pretending to be a trusted player in the media market.


For instance, a controversial website reporting on celebrities' "deaths" published an article on April 2 stating that POTUS Joe Biden had “passed away peacefully in his sleep” with Kamala Harris succeeding the office. The article has been removed as its inaccuracy was too obvious, but a cache of the text can be found.


The overwhelming majority of such websites are nothing more than AI-powered content farms; they generate low-quality texts, populated with keywords to attract advertising revenues.


The majority of such content farms generate low to zero profits. However, a solid portion of them run programmatic ads – which means that AI buys and sells space for advertising automatically – and this means that the owner of such sites gains a source of passive income. Also some companies practice “guest posting” which means that they pay money to such content farms for mentioning their name in order to enhance their search ranking.


Gordon Crovitz – a prominent American journalist and expert on Big Tech reportedly said that “using AI models known for making up facts to produce what only look like news websites is fraud masquerading as journalism.”


Researchers are also concerned about the fact that such content-generating tools are becoming virtually free. Noah Giansiracusa, an associate professor of data science and mathematics at Bentley University was quoted in the media as saying that fake-news-for-ads used to be “a low-paid scheme” and perpetrators had to invest at least some resources to commit this crime – at least, to pay regular salary to media-schools drop-outs. Now all they need is computer connected to the Internet.