Sunday, June 16, 2024

Few AI deepfakes identified in EU elections, Microsoft president says

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By Supantha Mukherjee

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Microsoft has not seen significant use of artificial intelligence in the European Parliamentary elections for creating disinformation campaigns, the company’s president told Reuters in an interview.

Brad Smith was in Stockholm to announce Microsoft’s plan to invest 33.7 billion Swedish crowns ($3.21 billion) to expand its cloud and artificial intelligence infrastructure in Sweden over a two-year period.

“We have to recognise the risks that AI can create in the context of creating abusive content and one form of abusive content would be AI generated deep fakes,” Smith said.

AI and AI-generated fakes, or deepfakes, are being increasingly used in elections elsewhere in the world, including in India, the United States, Pakistan and Indonesia.

In India, deepfake videos went viral of two of India’s A-lister Bollywood actors criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asking people to vote for the opposition Congress party in the country’s general election.

Last month the European Union’s disinformation-busting team debunked a Russian-language video on Google-owned YouTube that said citizens were fleeing dictatorship in EU member Poland and seeking refuge in Belarus, a close ally of Moscow.

The European Parliament election will be held on June 6-9 as the bloc’s landmark rules on AI will enter into this month setting a potential global benchmark for a technology used in business and everyday life.

Microsoft has been training candidates for the European Parliament to monitor the situation, Smith said.

“We have not seen an energetic effort to try to exploit these elections,” Smith said. “They are not over yet, so we should not declare victory.”

“We are just seeing the Russians focused on the Olympics,” Smith said, adding that Microsoft will issue a report on the topic later on Monday.

The International Olympic Committee has banned the Russian Olympic Committee in October for recognising regional Olympic councils for Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine – Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm Editing by Louise Heavens)

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